Thanksgiving is the third-most dangerous holiday in the United States when it comes to motor vehicle accident fatalities. According to USA Today, only Independence Day and Memorial Day are have higher incidences of motor vehicle accident deaths.
There are a lot of reasons why more collisions occur over Thanksgiving, including more people on the roads and more impaired drivers. Every motorist needs to be aware of the added risks and should make a commitment to make smart choices behind the wheel in order to reduce the chances that an accident will occur. If an accident does occur, a car accident attorney can help.
From 2006 to 2011, 15 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths that happened during November occurred over Thanksgiving weekend. This period extends from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to Sunday night.
Between 2001 and 2008, more than 400 people died each year on Thanksgiving weekend. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there are 416 motorists killed in accidents over Thanksgiving. The highest number of fatalities occurred in 2006, with 623 motorists killed. In addition to the fatalities, another 46,000 people got hurt.
AAA estimates that around 43.4 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more during Thanksgiving weekend in 2013. In 2012, around 44 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles. Any time there are more people behind the wheel and there is more traffic, there is an added risk that crashes will occur.
Another problem is that people are more inclined to imbibe during holidays, which can lead to drunk driving crashes. The NHTSA reports that 42 percent of the deadly Thanksgiving crashes involved a driver who had a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08 percent.
Drivers need to be aware of the added traffic and the potential for intoxicated motorists and they need to ensure that they are taking every precaution they can to reduce the chances of getting hurt. The NHTSA advises motorists to take some simple steps to reduce the dangers of becoming involved in a motor vehicle collision. These steps include:
- Staying sober at all times if you plan to drive, and not getting into a car with a drunk driver
- Buckling up at all times behind the wheel and making sure that children are buckled into appropriate child safety seats that are designed for their weight and age
- Avoiding driving while distracted and staying focused on the roads
- Leaving plenty of time to get to your destination so you do not need to rush, especially if there is bad weather
By following these safety tips, hopefully you can reduce the chances that you or a loved one will get hurt in a traffic crash over the holiday season. If a collision occurs in South Carolina, contact an accident lawyer for help understanding your rights.