Thanksgiving can be a beautiful time full of friends, family, and feasting. Many Americans travel each year for Thanksgiving. Appropriately 50 million people travel by car. More cars on the road can lead to more car accidents. But, as discussed below, more cars are not the only reason there are more car accidents around Thanksgiving.
What Factors Contribute to An Increase in Thanksgiving Car Accidents?
The Thanksgiving holiday creates a type of perfect storm for vehicle accidents. Many factors combine to make the roadways particularly dangerous. The National Safety Council estimates that roughly 500 people die and approximately 59,000 are injured in car crashes around Thanksgiving.
Contributing factors to the Thanksgiving increase in car accidents include:
- More Traffic: Road congestion causes more accidents. With approximately 50 million Americans traveling by car around Thanksgiving, there are more chances for collision.
- Unfamiliar roads: Visiting friends or family in new places can be exciting. But it can also cause more accidents. When drivers are unfamiliar with roads, they tend to focus more on the map or driving app than on the roadway. A driver may miss a turn or an exit, causing them to make an unexpected maneuver.
- Fatigued driving: During a holiday, there can be a sense of urgency to arrive at your destination quickly and not take enough rest breaks. Some people driving long distances also try driving through the night, which can be dangerous. Fatigued driving can cause as much impairment as drunk driving. Driving after more than 20 hours without sleep is equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%.
- Drunk driving: Many people drink alcohol with friends and family around Thanksgiving. A growing trend of “Blackout Wednesday” also encourages excessive alcohol consumption the day before Thanksgiving. In recent years, 47 percent of drivers between the ages of 21 and 34 involved in fatal car crashes on Thanksgiving Eve were impaired by alcohol.
- Bad weather: Thanksgiving weekend often brings inclement weather, at least somewhere in the United States. Rainy, snowy, and icy road conditions, combined with other factors such as more drivers on the road, can lead to more accidents.
How to Prevent a Thanksgiving Car Accident
Despite the roadways being more dangerous around Thanksgiving, you can take steps to protect yourself. Some ways to prevent a Thanksgiving car accident include:
- Expect more cars on the road: Give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to be. Try to avoid peak travel times. Keep a safe following distance between your car and the car in front of you.
- Don’t drink and drive:If you’ve been drinking, don’t risk it. Stay where you are, get a ride home with someone sober, or call a rideshare service.
- Avoid distractions: Avoid distractions when driving. Have a passenger help you with navigating.
- Take care of your vehicle: Expect bad weather. Make sure your tires all have adequate air and tread.Make sure your windshield washer reservoir is full of non-freezing winter solution wash. And check all your lights to make sure they work correctly.
- Take breaks: If you are driving for a long time, plan breaks. Share driving responsibilities with licensed passengers. If you get tired, pull off the road to rest or even check into a hotel for the night.
Contact a Fairfax, Virginia, Personal Injury Attorney Today
The Virginia personal injury attorneys at Whitestone Young, PC, want to help you pursue compensation for your injury. If you’re the victim of a car accident caused by someone else, we have the knowledge and experience to fight for what you deserve. Call us at 703-591-0200 or contact us today for a free initial consultation.