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Drive Home Carefully - Especially if it's a Close Game

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Drive Home Carefully - Especially if it's a Close Game

It’s playoff time! Time to drive safely. Researchers have found that when a team wins by a close score, traffic fatalities increase in the winner’s hometown.

Hockey fans are gearing up for the Stanley Cup playoffs (which start tonight for Vancouver Canucks fans and tomorrow night for Ottawa Senators fans). If you’re one of those lucky fans attending the game, you may want to take public transit. Researchers have found that when a team wins a close game, traffic fatalities rise on game days near the hometown of the winning team.

University of North Carolina and University of South Carolina researchers analyzed data from 271 days when sporting events occurred over a period of eight years. Most of the games studied were football and basketball playoffs and big rivalry games.

As any sports fan knows, the score itself doesn’t necessarily indicate how close a game actually was. So fans also rated the closeness of the game.

Closeness counts
When researchers checked the national Highway Safety Administration fatality database for game day traffic fatalities, they found that the closer a game is, the more traffic fatalities there are—especially when alcohol is involved. But traffic fatalities only increase in areas with the highest number of winning fans – such as the game site and winning hometown.

There was no increase in traffic fatalities in losing teams’ hometowns.

What caused the increase in fatalities?
Researchers believe that high levels of testosterone produced from vicariously winning a close game affected fans’ driving on the way home.

"It would be wise to allow for a 'cooling off' period, where one could bask in the glory of victory safely," the researchers concluded.

Emphasis on safely. Enjoy a celebratory organic beer once you get home—or if you just can’t wait to celebrate, take transit. Enjoy the game, and get home safely!

GO CANUCKS GO!

GO SENS GO!

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