Traveling over Thanksgiving weekend can be fun and exciting, but it can also be dangerous. Thanksgiving weekend has a much higher risk of auto accidents than an average weekend. Below, we discuss the risks and a few travel safety tips for Thanksgiving weekend.
Thanksgiving Travel Statistics
Thanksgiving is a huge travel event in America. Nearly 47 million people traveled during the Thanksgiving holidays in 2015, according to Travel and Leisure magazine. More than 89 percent of these travelers were on the roads.
More people on the roads leads to higher accident risk. This is especially true when alcohol is involved. According to Edmunds.com, alcohol-related fatalities double or triple during holidays.
And do not think the roads will be safe immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving is merely the kickoff for the holiday season that lasts from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. During this time, alcohol-impaired drivers contribute to 40 percent of traffic fatalities, reports Edmunds.com. At any other time during the year, alcohol-impaired drivers are involved in 31 percent of traffic fatalities.
Thanksgiving driving safety tips
Thanksgiving is the third most dangerous holiday for driving in America, reports Edmunds.com. To keep yourself and your family safe, use the following tips:
- Make sure your vehicle is safe. Have your mechanic make sure that your vehicle is roadworthy. Your vehicle’s windshield wipers, tires, brakes, battery, heater, and lights all need to be functioning properly. Make sure your antifreeze and engine oil levels are sufficient.
- Check the weather forecasts and the road conditions before you leave home. If bad weather or unsafe road conditions are expected, consider changing your travel plans.
- Keep plenty of gas in the tank. This is not merely a precaution against running out of gas. When traveling in cold weather, if your gas tank is running very low, the fuel lines could freeze, disabling your vehicle and leaving you stuck at the side of the road.
- Carry an emergency kit in your car. In addition to the standard food, water, blankets, and cell phone, consider including jumper cables, a flashlight, sand, an ice scraper and a first aid kit.
- Always drive sober. If you see an intoxicated driver, pull over or have a passenger call and report him or her.
- Avoid distractions. Driving with family can lead to countless distractions. Bring quiet toys or books for your children and ensure you have restrained your pets if you brought them.
- Take breaks. Driving is tiring. Be sure to take breaks every 100 miles or have someone else drive.
- Drive defensively. Even if you are driving carefully, not everyone else. Make sure you pay attention and drive defensively.
How many accidents occur in Washington State over Thanksgiving weekend?
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reported that in 2014 (most recent statistics), there were 1272 collisions in the state of Washington over Thanksgiving weekend. Of these, two were fatal collisions, 19 were collisions involving serious injuries, and 316 resulted in minor injuries.
Alternatives to Driving Home
While it would be better to just stay put on Thanksgiving, that is not always an option. But that does not mean you need to get behind the wheel when you have been drinking.
Instead, take a taxi, schedule a ride with Uber or Lyft, or have someone sober drive you home.
Public transportation can be another viable option, although you should check the public transportation holiday schedules ahead of time to synchronize with your social plans. Check out the following holiday schedules:
What can I do if I was injured in an accident over Thanksgiving weekend?
If you were injured in an accident during the Thanksgiving holidays, you need to be in the hands of a knowledgeable auto accident lawyer.
At Max Meyers Law, we will meet with you at no charge to review your claim and advise you as to your legal rights. Call our office today at 425-399-7000 to schedule your free consultation.