Stay in bed on January 5 – the deadliest day for Scots


SCOTS should stay in bed on January 5 after official government statistics revealed it as the deadliest day of the year.

Based on records for the past decade, an average of 193 Scots expire on the fifth day of the year, well above the year-round daily average of 150.

In fact, the first week of the year is busy for the grim reaper as six of the top ten deadliest days fall between January 1-7.

Funeral director William Lawrie is having to haul coffins down a street after council bunglers got rid of his parking space in Haddington. 23 May 2013
Funeral directors, such as William Lawrie from Haddington, East Lothian, are most likely to be busy in the first week of January.


The safest day of the year, according to statistics from the National Records of Scotland (NRS), is July 29 with a mere 125 deaths north of the border.

Take extra care on Christmas Day as it is statistically the 24th most deadly with an average of 174 deaths. Hogmanay is the sixth deadliest day with 184.9 deaths over the decade, whilst New Year’s Day comes in 7th with 184.6 deaths.

Superstitious Scots will be glad to know, meanwhile, that Friday 13 is nothing to fear. There were 17 Friday the 13ths between 2005 and 2014 with an average death rate of exactly 150 – a tiny fraction safer than the precise overall average of 150.1008 deaths.

For anyone feeling nervous as a result of reading this story, rest assured that today (June 26) has an average of 137 deaths, making it the 316th safest day. [June 25 has an average of 134 deaths, putting it in 349th place.]

Analysis also showed that the deadliest day of the week in Scotland on average is Saturday, which saw 78,750 deaths out of the grand total of 548,168.

The Sunday lie-in may prove to be saving lives, as it was shown to be the weekday with the fewest overall deaths – just 77,069.

The deadliest single day of the past ten years was shown to be November 11, 2007, with a staggering 243 deaths. The safest day was recorded as August 9, 2011 with just 98 deaths – the only instance of a day with fewer than 100 deaths in Scotland over the whole ten year period.

Dr Andrew Hinde, of the Southampton-based Centre for Population Change, said: “The early January peak in Scotland may be the result of people ‘hanging on’ until after family gatherings at New Year.

“This is a known effect – or possibly the delayed result of over-enthusiastic celebration of the New Year.”

He added: “Deaths result from a range of causes, some psychological, some physical. If we allow for a substantial psychological element, then when considering the annual cycle of mortality, light and dark may be as important as heat and cold.

“If mortality responds to light and dark as well as heat and cold, then a December-January peak is understandable.”

Professor Sabu Padmadas, who works at the same institution, said: “The most deadly day – 05/01 – could be post-New Year depression and atherosclerosis with cumulative deposits of the fatty junk on the arteries, starting pre-Christmas consumption.”

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