Thanksgiving is the third-most dangerous holiday for drivers in the United States. According to USA Today, only Memorial Day and Independence day have a higher number of motor vehicle traffic fatalities than the Thanksgiving holiday.
A personal injury lawyer knows many people travel long distances for Thanksgiving, so there are generally more drivers on the road during the holiday weekend. Motorists need to be aware that there is an added danger of traffic collisions over the course of the Thanksgiving weekend and should make sure they are taking some basic precautions to drive extra safely during the high-risk travel days.
Thanksgiving Weekend Presents Risks of Collisions
The statistics on traffic accident fatalities over Thanksgiving are troubling. For example, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 416 people killed in motor vehicle crashes over the 2012 holiday weekend, which runs from Wednesday night before Thanksgiving to the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving.
There are so many deaths over the Thanksgiving weekend that USA Today indicates that 15 percent of all of the deadly traffic accidents that happen in the entire month of November occur specifically during this time.
Between 2001 and 2008, there were more than 400 fatalities each year during the Thanksgiving period. In 2006, the worst year for holiday traffic deaths, there were 623 people killed in motor vehicle crashes between the Wednesday and Sunday nights.
In addition to the fatalities, around 46,000 motorists are injured in traffic collisions over Thanksgiving weekend.
Part of the reason why there are so many injuries and deaths is that there are a lot of people who travel in their cars in order to see friends and family and in order to enjoy a four day weekend with Friday off work. AAA estimates 43.4 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles for Thanksgiving and there were around 44 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more in 2012. Any time there are a lot of people on the roads, especially if those people are driving for long distances, there is a greater chance that collisions will occur.
Consumption of alcohol is also a major concern when it comes to Thanksgiving fatalities. According to the NTHSA, a total of 42 percent of the fatalities that occurred over Thanksgiving involved drivers who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that was above the legal limit. When drivers operate a vehicle while intoxicated, there is a significantly greater risk of death or permanent injury in a collision.
Drivers need to ensure they are prepared to face more motorists on the roads, and need to follow some basic safety guidelines in order to reduce the potential for a crash. The NHTSA reminds motorists to stay sober and recommends drivers buckle up, secure their kids in appropriate safety seats, avoid the blind spots around commercial vehicles, stay focused on the road and leave early with plenty of time to spare so there is no reason to speed to get to holiday events.
A Hilton Head South Carolina personal injury attorney can help if you've been injured or a loved one was killed in an accident. Contact Twenge + Twombley today at 866-452-6315 for a free case consultation.