Close games lead to higher motorist fatalities

For die-hard sports fans, a home-team win can make the whole week better. But according to a study by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of South Carolina, winning can also be deadly-at least for motorists.

The schools focused on fatal accident rates the cities involved in 271 significant (i.e. playoff, rivalry, etc.) pro and college football and basketball games from 2001 to 2008. Fans were then asked to rank close games, and the results were compared against National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data for those game days. The results were startling; in areas where the winning team team won a close game and had a high number of fans on site (whether at the actual game venue or in the team's hometown if it was playing on the road), road fatalities increase significantly.

The results don't show that those involved in these accidents actually watch the games, but they illustrate a pattern of more aggressive road behavior following close games. In fact, prior studies found that fans' testosterone levels of fans increase with a close win, while the losing team sees no rise. The research shows that alcohol also plays a factor, which comes as no surprise. It's interesting to note, however, that while some fans on both sides are obviously to partake in a drink (or several) while watching the game, the cities of losing teams didn't show an increase in fatalities.

The moral of the study might be to stay off the road after your team wins.

[Source: USA Today | Image: Maveric2003/Flickr via CC 2.0]

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