During the 2013 Thanksgiving weekend, an estimated 43.4 million Americans traveled 50 miles or farther from their homes. In 2012, around 44 million people took trips of at least this distance, according to AAA. If you are one of the millions going to visit family or friends, you need to be aware there is an added risk of motor vehicle collisions. In fact, the increased risk of accidents extends from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through to the Sunday evening after the holiday.
A personal injury lawyer knows the added traffic on the road as people travel over Thanksgiving helps to contribute to more motor vehicle collisions during the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, many people also choose to drive drunk over Thanksgiving, which exacerbates the roadway dangers. Drivers need to be aware conditions may be hazardous. They should be sure to follow safety precautions in order to reduce the chances of injury or fatalities in car crashes.
Thanksgiving Can be a Dangerous Time on the Roads
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 416 people died in motor vehicle accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2012.
So many people die each year during this period of time that USA Today reports Thanksgiving weekend tallies the third-highest number of traffic deaths, compared to other holidays. While both Memorial Day and Independence Day are deadlier days on the road, Thanksgiving still generally accounts for around 15 percent of all of the traffic accidents that happen in November.
From 2001 to 2008, more than 400 roadway fatalities are counted annually over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. In 2006, a record number of 623 people died over Thanksgiving while driving. Fortunately, the numbers have not been that high since. There are also a high number of injuries over Thanksgiving, with around 46,000 people getting hurt in traffic accidents.
The NHTSA reports around 42 percent of the deaths occurred in Thanksgiving crashes happened in accidents involving drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. If drivers made the commitment not to get behind the wheel when they are impaired, many accidents could be prevented.
The NHTSA also suggests drivers can reduce the risk of getting hurt by following other important safety tips including:
- Buckling up at all times when driving over the Thanksgiving holiday period.
- Ensuring young children are in safety seats that are designed for kids of their age and weight and are properly installed in vehicles.
- Staying sober and not getting into the car with people who are drunk.
- Staying out of the blind spot "no zones" around trucks and buses.
- Planning ahead in case of bad weather and leaving early so you aren't rushed to get to your destination.
- Avoiding distracted driving.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a joyous occasion for celebrating your blessings. It is very important that you do everything possible to avoid turning the holiday into a tragedy by becoming involved in a motor vehicle crash.
A Chicago, IL accident attorney can help after an injury. Call Coplan & Crane at 800-394-6002 to schedule your free consultation.