Understanding the Risks of Thanksgiving Holiday Travel

During the Thanksgiving weekend, many people travel to visit family members. In fact, according to AAA, an estimated 43.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving period.

Whether this involves a short trip or long-distance travel from one state to another, the number of holiday travelers means more people on the road. Those celebrating the holiday and the four-day weekend are also likely to go out shopping or partying over the holidays, which also contributes to more drivers on the road.Unfortunately, an increase in traffic means a potential increase in the risk of accidents. Our Highland injury lawyers are concerned about the dangers presented by Thanksgiving holiday travel and urge all drivers to take extra care to be safe during the long weekend.

Risks of Accidents During Thanksgiving Holiday Travel
The National Safety Counsel (NSC) has released a comprehensive report called Thanksgiving Holiday Period Traffic Fatality Estimate, 2012. This report considered the increased risk of accidents from 6:00 PM Wednesday November 21, 2012 to 11:59 Sunday November 25, 2012. This 4.5 day period is defined by the NSC as the Thanksgiving weekend period.

According to the NSC:

  • The estimated number of non-fatal disabling injuries likely to result from car crashes during the holiday period is 48,300. However, this estimate is inexact and the data indicates that the number of non-fatal disabling injuries could range between 41,100 and 56,500.
  • When evaluating crash data from 2005 to 2010, the average number of deaths due to traffic accidents over the Thanksgiving weekend was 9.8 percent higher than the average number of traffic deaths during non-holiday weekend periods.
  • In 2010, 13.76 percent of the traffic deaths in the month of November took place during the Thanksgiving period.
  • From 2005 to 2010, 15.3 percent of traffic fatalities in November occurred over Thanksgiving.

While these statistics are determined without an objective method of measuring how much travel increases over Thanksgiving, they do suggest that there is an increase in the risk of a traffic crash occurring during the holiday weekend.

Protecting Yourself From Traffic Crash Injuries During Holiday Travel
Staying safe while traveling over the holidays should be a top priority. To minimize your risk of being involved in a crash, consider these tips:

  • Leave plenty of time to get to your destination so you can drive at a safe speed without worrying about being late. Don’t forget to take into account that you’re likely to encounter more traffic.
  • Avoid areas you suspect will be congested, such as shopping malls during Black Friday. Parking lot accidents represent a significant percentage of crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Refrain from driving when you are tired, distracted or drunk. Drowsy driving, driving while on a cell phone or otherwise distracted, and driving while intoxicated can significantly increase the risk of an auto accident.

By keeping these tips in mind and following safe driving practices, you can hopefully stay safe over the holiday season.

Attorney Burton A. Padove represents car accident victims. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, call (219) 836 2200 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Highland Injury Attorneys & Your Risks of an Autumn Traffic Accident, Indiana Injury and Family Lawyer Blog, October 30, 2012
Thanksgiving Holiday Period Traffic Fatality Estimate, 2012, National Safety Council, November 6, 2012

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