It doesn't take two to crash, at least on New Year's Day. New insurance data shows that single-vehicle accident claims jumped 30 percent last New Year's Day, and were the largest factor in a 25 percent jump in all auto claims on that day. Single-vehicle claims concern mishaps that occur when people cause accidents on their own, with no other car involved.

That 30 percent jump in single-vehicle claims includes a 76 percent increase in single-vehicle rollovers and a 59 percent increase in single vehicles running off the road and striking an object, according to data from Progressive Insurance.

Other claims showing increases for New Year's include single vehicles that swerved to avoid something and then hit an object (29 percent) and single vehicles striking an object in the road (1 percent).

"We've all heard the phrase, 'I'm my own worst enemy,' and that phrase rings as true as ever on New Year's Day," said Maria Cashy, the claims customer-service process leader at Progressive. "The large increase in single-vehicle claims could be attributed to a variety of factors, such as icy streets, more people out on the roads or late-night driving. Regardless, the best thing you can do to keep yourself safe is stay off the road."

While Progressive's data doesn't cover how many accidents involved motorists driving while under the influence, impaired driving and New Year's Day are inextricably linked, statistically.

New Year’s Day consistently ranks as the year’s deadliest day for alcohol-related fatalities, according to the American Automobile Association. Half the fatal crashes on the holiday involve a driver who could be considered drunk, according to an analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.Analysts have also officially identified New Year's Day as the worst day for drunk driving accidents.

For those who do plan to be out on New Year's, Cashy recommends getting a cab or naming a designated driver. But if you find yourself in an accident this New Year's Eve or Day, Progressive recommends you take the following steps:

  • Stay calm. Keeping a normal demeanor helps you stay in control of the situation.
  • Make sure you and your passengers are OK. Move as far off the roadway as possible, but stay at the scene of the accident. Warn oncoming traffic by activating your hazard-warning lights and/or setting flares.
  • Call the police. Call 911 or the appropriate emergency number to report the accident.
  • Contact your insurance company and report the claim. The sooner your insurance company knows about the accident, the sooner they can start working to resolve your claim.
  • Do not discuss the accident. Do not discuss the car accident with anyone other than the police and your claims representative.
  • If it's a multi-car accident, exchange vital information with the other driver involved. Write down the name, address, phone number and license numbers for all drivers and witnesses, particularly those who were not riding in any vehicles involved in the crash. Ask for the insurance companies and policy numbers for all drivers involved in the accident.
Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

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This story was originally written for BusinessNewsDaily and is reprinted with permission here. Copyright 2012 BusinessNewsDaily, a TechMediaNetwork company.

Spike in one-car accidents rings in New Year
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