Thanksgiving: One of the Deadliest Days to Be on the Road

When most people think of dangerous holidays, they imagine Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, or even Christmas. However, did you know that Thanksgiving is actually considered to be one of the most dangerous days of the year to be on the road? According to statistics, Thanksgiving weekend is the most traveled holiday period of the year. Families are calling up their relatives, making plans for the nearing festivities. Although delicious food is passed around the table, some families are not keen on watching their alcohol intake or keeping a tight leash on their little ones. This research shares some sober statistics concerning pedestrian statics and automotive accidents.

Some of these statistics:

  • In 2015, there were 6,700 pedestrian deaths in America due to motor vehicle accidents.
  • In 2015, there were 160,000 medically consulted injuries due to motor vehicle accidents.
  • Up to 17% of these deaths occurred when a pedestrian crossed the street in an improper manner (not using cross-walk, using cross-walk when it wasn’t their turn).
  • Lack of visibility due to dark clothing or low lighting accounted for 15% of the total deaths.
  • Running into the road accounts for 15% of pedestrian deaths of kids 5-9.

The Dangers of Inattention to Children

Thanksgiving is well known for its parades—the largest being the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Just last year, there were over 3.5 million spectators alongside the streets of Manhattan watching the Macy’s parade. With this many people in such an enclosed space, it is of dire importance that parents pay close attention to their children as the parade goes past. As the above statistic states, 15% of the pedestrian deaths of kids 5-9 are due to children running into the street. No matter how well behaved your child is, they are still a child, and could easily get distracted by something in the road. Children should be kept in close proximity to their parents to ensure their safety while watching parades and visiting major cities.

The Danger of Drinking & Driving on Thanksgiving

DUI arrests spike to their highest from this time of year all the way through New Year’s weekend. In 2008, 502 people were killed on the road on Thanksgiving Day. From 1998 to 2008, there was an average of 572 deaths every year on Thanksgiving in the U.S. What leads to this spike in traffic fatalities? AAA says that it is likely a combination of an increased amount of drivers on the road and a spike in alcohol consumption.

When more vehicles are on the road, it creates more potential for traffic accidents. On top of that, people often drink more around the holidays, whether celebrating with family or at a party with friends. That means people are more likely to get behind the wheel while intoxicated or impaired.

These stories from this year’s Halloween night are just a few examples of how deadly a holiday celebration can be:

Too many people are killed for either driving under the influence or by exhibiting poor decision making in crossing the street. Accidents are never easy to read about, but we at Arnold & Itkin LLP believe that knowledge of these potential dangers can save lives. The more mindful people are on the night of high-risk festivities, the less likely accidents will be. Keeping our communities safe is our number one priority, and we wish that accidents were minimized through the use of extra precaution and sound judgement.

Tips for Driving Safe This Holiday Season

Just because it is one of the deadliest driving days of the year doesn’t mean you should avoid getting in your car on Thanksgiving. Instead, following a few safety measures can help you prevent an dangerous or fatal accident.

This Thanksgiving, make sure you stay safe by following these tips:

  • Schedule maintenance for your car ahead of time.
  • Slow down and give yourself more time to get to your destination.
  • Make sure to get plenty of rest and stay alert for your travels.
  • Follow the rules of the road and drive cautious in poor weather.
  • Always give your full attention to the road.
  • For longer trips, rotate drivers or take plenty of rest breaks.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely—give more following distance than normal.
  • Prepare for heavy traffic spots and don’t let yourself get frustrated.
  • Make sure to keep your cell phone charged in case of emergencies.

Are you hitting the road this Thanksgiving or holiday season? Take extra steps to keep your family safe and your holiday season joyful by avoiding dangerous driving situations! If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, do not hesitate to seek the help you need.

Arnold & Itkin wishes you a happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.


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