In Belgium, Ascension Day is one of the most dangerous days f0r road traffic, accident analyses reveal. On this day, people run the highest risk of being involved in an accident.
While many accidents typically happen on weekends, Ascension Day – a Thursday – is one of the most dangerous days to be on the road in Belgium, according to figures from road safety organisation Vias.
Over a five year period (2017 to 2021), 699 traffic accidents took place on Ascension Day in Belgium. In those accidents, a total of 15 people were killed and 90 were severely injured.
This amounts to an average of 21 fatalities or severely injured people on Ascension Day every year – nearly double the number of a regular day, when "only" 11.6 deaths and severe injuries per day are recorded.
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As many companies give their employees the day off on Friday as well, creating a four-day weekend after the bank holiday, people often go for a drink on a terrace or at a barbecue on Thursday.
According to Vias, alcohol abuse is the primary cause of the extra fatalities on Ascension Day: in 20% of the accidents with fatalities or severe injuries, alcohol was involved. "The reason is that there is a lot of drinking and partying, after which people regularly take the car to drive home."
The deadliest holiday on Belgian roads over the past five years was All Saints' Day (1 November), when a total of 16 deaths were recorded over five years.