Tax Day Danger: Fatal Crashes Increase When Taxes are Due

Before hitting the road this tax day, April 17, be sure to ramp up your defensive driving skills and double check your auto insurance policy. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the risk of fatal car crashes goes up the week taxes are due every year — and this year is no exception.

Tax Day Driving Brings Greater Hazards

In a new examination of data from the NHTSA, researchers led by Dr. Donald Redelmeier of the University of Toronto found that fatal crashes are more common on tax day.

The researchers examined 30 years of road crash data, comparing the number of fatal car accidents occurring on tax day (April 15, or whichever weekday taxes are due), one week before and one week after. Their results revealed that 19,541 people were involved in fatal crashes on the 30 tax days examined. This is 6 percent more than non-tax days.

The cause of the increase in fatal crashes was unclear to the researchers, but they presumed that human stress was a factor. Other reasons considered were sleep deprivation, inadvertent distractions and less tolerance towards hassles.

It’s Time to Review Your Auto Insurance Policy

With the knowledge that fatal crashes increase around tax day, now is the time to take a good look at your auto insurance policy to ensure it covers all of the proper bases. Here are a few pieces of the policy you could explore:

  • Liability coverage limits: Have you chosen the minimum liability insurance coverage limits to maintain a low monthly premium? If so, take a look at the limits to make sure they would pay for actual damage or injury if you hit another car or person.
  • Collision insurance: If you don’t carry collision insurance, now’s the time to look into this option. Collision covers your car if it collides with another object and could be beneficial around tax day.
  • Comprehensive insurance: While comprehensive pays for damage that occurs when your vehicle isn’t moving, it’s good to consider it in the event that a stressed tax day driver hits your parked car.

In addition to examining your auto insurance policy, make sure you feel comfortable with your defensive driving skills and also test the reliability of your safety equipment (seat belts, airbags, etc.) in case an accident does occur. The more prepared you are for the worse, the safer you’ll feel when you hit the road next week.