More than 41 million people will travel more than 50 miles from home for the Thanksgiving weekend, increasing their risk of being involved in a holiday crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Thanksgiving was one of the deadliest travel days of the year between 2006 and 2011. According to a 2013 article in the USA Today, Thanksgiving accounted for nearly 15% of all vehicle-related fatalities during November. More than 46,000 people suffered injuries in crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend.
One of the main factors for accidents on holidays is alcohol consumption. In fact, NHTSA reports that drunk driving violations increase by an average of 54 percent on Thanksgiving, second only to New Year’s Eve when violations rise to 62 percent. Thanksgiving Eve is often referred to as “Black Wednesday,” as many people who return home for the holiday go out to catch up with old friends at local bars the night before. Social binge drinking is also common during the holiday, as friends and families gather to celebrate. Drinking a few beers while watching the afternoon football game and a few glasses of wine with dinner could lead to someone getting behind the wheel of a car and then causing a holiday crash on the way home.
Seatbelt use is another factor that leads to injury and death in a holiday crash. According to national traffic statistics, 301 people died over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2012 and 60% of those were not wearing seatbelts. For that reason, many states, including Arkansas, are ramping up their “Click It or Ticket” campaigns over the holiday weekend, according to a Nov. 22, 2014, article in the Times Record of Fort Smith, Ark. NHTSA reports that seat belts saved more than 12,000 lives throughout the country, reducing fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to severe injury by 50 percent.
Other Holiday Crash Factors
There are other reasons that Thanksgiving has a higher percentage of crashes on holidays. Family drama, which can cause drivers to be distracted behind the wheel, speeding and bad weather are other factors that can lead to more crashes on the nation’s highways. According to experts, the hours between 11 PM and 4 AM are when a holiday crash is more likely to occur. In addition, there are more fatal accidents in rural areas than urban areas on Thanksgiving according to AAA, with 67% of fatal accidents happening in rural areas. The agency says that in addition to the fact that more people in rural areas fail to wear seat belts, it also takes longer for emergency personnel to arrive in rural locations.
Drive Safely and Know Where to Get Help
Attorney Group advises you to drive defensively, remain sober, adhere to the posted speed limit and buckle your seatbelt if you will be traveling by car this holiday season. We hope that doing so will prevent you from needing services from one of our affiliated attorneys because they are proven ways to avoid serious injuries or even deaths in a crash, or to avoid the crash entirely.
But if you or a loved one has been injured in a holiday-related car crash, or if a loved one has died of injuries sustained in a holiday crash, contact Attorney Group to learn what rights you may have. Our affiliated attorneys can analyze your case with no out-of-pocket cost to you.
We can’t take away your injuries or bring back your loved ones. All we can do is help you receive a monetary compensation for your loss. Please remember that Attorney Group wishes you safe and successful holiday travels.