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A group of adults on the younger side having a tailgate party in the parking lot full of cars. Some of them are wearing team jerseys and cooking on a grill while some others are holding drinks and sitting in the back of cars with the backdoors open.
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The 2022 NFL season kicked off on September 8. Football season draws crowds to high school, college and pro football stadiums alike. As fans gather to tailgate, spectate and, often, to binge drink, extra traffic and rowdy devotees may prove hazardous to drivers and other attendees. Overall accidents may go up on game days, but fatal accidents are less likely to occur in the slow-moving traffic surrounding a stadium, according to Bloomberg.

With the start of football season, it’s important to be both a good fan and a good driver. Overindulging on game days could negatively impact your driving history — and ultimately increase your car insurance rates. Whether you’ve recently been involved in an accident or are just looking for a better deal, you may want to get car insurance quotes from multiple providers to ensure you’re still getting the best deal for you.

Game day statistics

Game days can be fun for everyone from children to seniors. It’s important to be aware of your safety on game days, since large crowds, alcohol and increased traffic can pose risks to your wellbeing, finances, personal property and driving record.

Drunk driving statistics

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Traffic accident statistics

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  • The following factors correlate with more and deadlier car accidents: weather, speed of traffic, driver fatigue, time of day, distractions and alcohol. (Bloomberg)
  • Overall accidents may go up on game days, but fatal accidents are less likely to occur in the slow-moving traffic that typically occurs on game days. (Bloomberg)
  • Automobile accidents increase by 41% after the Super Bowl. (Snopes)
  • 35,766 fatal motor vehicle accidents occurred in 2020. (IIHS)
  • 43% of car crash fatalities occurred in rural areas in 2020. (IIHS)

Car vandalism and property crime statistics

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  • On game days, some fans resort to vandalism and property crimes, such as flipping cars or burning couches. Last year, a Michigan State fan caught fire while sitting on a burning couch. (Newsweek)
  • Riots have broken out in cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, Denver and Cleveland following sports wins and losses. (Metro)
  • Approximately 6.9 million property crime offenses took place in 2019. (FBI)
  • Property crime losses totaled $15.8 billion in 2019. (FBI)
  • Motor vehicle theft was the crime most likely to be reported at nearly 80%, and least likely to be solved at 13.8%. (Pew Research Center)

Risk factors by age group

Your safety on game day is influenced by your individual choices. However, it’s important to be aware that a person’s risk factors on game day may vary by their age group.

Teenage drivers

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  • Consequences for underaged drinking can include suspension from school and athletic teams. (Washington Post)
  • Fatal traffic accidents are the second leading cause of death in drivers aged 15 to 20. (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Teen drivers account for only 5.1% of licensed drivers, but 8.5% of drivers involved in fatal crashes. (Triple-I)
  • Drivers between 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% than when they have not been drinking. (CDC)
  • 10% of high schoolers drink and drive. (CDC)

College students

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  • An average of 139.4 police incidents occurred on college game days. (Sports Illustrated)
  • The most common game day offenses on most campuses are alcohol-related or “disorderly” violations. (Sports Illustrated)
  • Binge drinking is a common phenomenon on college game days. The number one reason for arrests and citations at the University of Wisconsin football stadium was for underage alcohol consumption. (Badger Herald)
  • Alabama had 448 game day incidents, the highest number of any school. (Sports Illustrated)
  • N.C. State had the highest rate of incidents on game days. (Sports Illustrated)

Young adults

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  • NFL stadiums home to the Washington Commanders, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguar are home to the worst traffic congestion. (USA Today)
  • Frustrated fans are prone to become more aggressive. (Sports Illustrated)
  • More than 1.2 million fans attended 119 NFL games of 22 teams in 2020. (Sports Illustrated)
  • Young adults aged 21 to 24 are more likely than any other age group to be alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes. (Bankrate)
  • The highest number of alcohol-related fatalities occur in Texas, California and Florida. The lowest number of alcohol-related fatalities occur in Rhode Island, Vermont and North Dakota. (Bankrate)

Game day safety

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  1. Make sure you have a safe ride to and from the game. Game day drunk driving can put yourself and others at risk. If you’ll be drinking on game day, ensure you have a designated driver or reliable transportation home. Be careful not to rely on rideshare services or taxis, as you may be competing with tens of thousands of fans to find one following the game.
  2. Keep your distance from rowdy fans. Many fans engage in binge drinking on game day, which may contribute to unruly behavior. Make sure to keep your belongings close to you and avoid provoking opposing fans to mitigate the risk of an incident.
  3. Keep your alcohol intake in check. The CDC defines binge drinking as four drinks for women and five for men on a given occasion. Binge drinking is associated with serious injuries and harmful behavior, so if you are drinking on game day, you may want to consider limiting your intake. If you’re drinking in the sunlight, be sure to hydrate and don’t forget to eat.
  4. Make sure perishable foods are safe to eat. Tailgating spreads may be left out for hours at a time. Make sure hot foods are kept at 140 degrees or warmer and cold foods are kept at 40 degrees or cooler. Discard any perishable foods that have been left out for more than 2 hours.
  5. Make sure you have adequate car insurance coverage. The traffic heading to and from the game may increase the risk of getting into a collision. Prior to the game, you may want to make sure you have enough car insurance coverage to protect yourself financially in the event of an incident.

Resources for filing a claim

If your car or any of your property was damaged during game day, here’s how to proceed. Young drivers may be especially unsure of how to file a claim and handle an accident in the event of a collision.

  1. Make sure everyone is safe. If anyone is injured, call for medical help immediately.
  2. Exchange contact information with the other driver. You will likely need their name and insurance information to handle insurance claims.
  3. Call the police. The police will be able to write an official report of the accident.
  4. Write a written account of the accident and take photos. The account and photos will be helpful for your adjuster when you file a claim.
  5. File a claim. To file a claim, most car insurance companies ask for the names, contact information and insurance information for those involved in an accident. They typically request a copy of the accident report, the names and badge numbers of police officers at the scene, the location and time of the accident and any photos taken.

If you need car insurance or are looking for a better deal, you may want to seek quotes from the best car insurance companies on the market. The average cost of car insurance for college students is broken down below.

Average annual full coverage car insurance rates for college students

INSURANCE COMPANY BANKRATE SCORE AVERAGE FULL COVERAGE PREMIUM WITH A STUDENT DISCOUNT ON THEIR PARENTS’ POLICY AVERAGE FULL COVERAGE PREMIUM WITHOUT A STUDENT DISCOUNT ON THEIR OWN POLICY
State Farm 4.7 $2,470 $3,812
Geico 4.7 $2,409 $3,877
Progressive 4.4 $2,991 $6,600
Allstate 4 $3,889 $6,538
Farmers 3.8 $2,584 $6,048

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2022 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2020 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Teens: Rates indicated as being on parents’ policy were determined by adding 18-year-old teen to a 40-year-old married couple’s policy. The rates displayed reflect the added cost to the parents’ policy.