The holiday season is upon us, and for many people that means visiting family and friends for Thanksgiving. However, motorists need to exercise extreme caution whenever out on the roads.
In what is a surprising statistic to many, Thanksgiving is the third deadliest holiday for car accidents during the year. Whether you are driving hundreds of miles or only going down the road to buy last-minute cranberry sauce, you will want to make safety a priority.
Hundreds of Fatalities
According to the National Safety Council, hundreds of people die during the Thanksgiving weekend, which runs from 6:00 pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving until the end of Sunday. In 2006, for example, there were 623 traffic fatalities during the weekend. Another 470 died in 2017. In fact, the number of fatalities usually hovers between 400-600.
There are many reasons for the high number of fatalities. For example, people often consume alcohol during the holiday weekend, since they are not working and are celebrating with friends and family. Some people can only get through the holidays by drinking alcohol. Intoxicated drivers are much more likely to get into a collision because their reflexes are slowed and their vision can be impaired. Indeed, statistics show that roughly 35% of fatal car accidents during Thanksgiving are caused by alcohol, compared to 29% of traffic fatalities for the rest of the year.
Another key reason is speed. Someone travelling long distances might get a late start or be impatient to reach their destination. Traveling with pets and young children can also add to the stress and cause a driver to press firmly on the gas pedal. When a driver is unfamiliar with the roads, their odds of crashing go up as well.
Will 2020 Be Different?
It is unclear how many people will die in traffic accidents this Thanksgiving weekend. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, traffic volume has been down around the nation, primarily because fewer people are traveling to work. However, there has been much more speeding—perhaps because drivers are feeling aggressive when they see so much open road. As seasoned auto accident lawyers in Virginia Beach, we continue to meet with many victims, so wrecks continue to occur.
Although the number of car crashes has fallen this year, the holiday weekend might change that. After all, we anticipate people will still want to travel to see relatives for Thanksgiving, so we expect congested highways.
We encourage motorists to exercise extreme caution and to make sensible decisions this Thanksgiving weekend. For example, leave early to give yourself enough time to reach Grandma’s house. And don’t speed, even if the roads look empty. Poor weather can often make driving risky, and you increase your odds of hydroplaning or skidding off the road the faster you travel.
Also never drink and drive. Designate someone to drive who will avoid alcoholic beverages during the weekend. Or have everyone commit to an alcohol-free holiday. Why consume empty calories when you can have another piece of pie instead?
If you are tired, plan on spending the night with your relatives or in a hotel rather than try to push through a very long drive. Drowsy driving is nearly as risky as drunk driving. Someone who nods off for only a second could strike a pedestrian or drift into oncoming traffic.
Lastly, we recommend that you buckle up. Wearing a seat belt saves lives if you are involved in a crash. Do not depend solely on air bags to save you. An additional 100 lives could be saved this year if everyone buckled up when they got into a vehicle.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers in Virginia Beach
Breit Law PC can represent you when injured in a car accident. Please call us today to schedule a free consultation to talk about your case.