It may seem hard for many to believe, but since the US Department of Transportation USDOT) has been keeping records, the deadliest holiday of the year for traffic accidents is not New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day or the Fourth of July. No, it’s Thanksgiving.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a number of factors, including more drivers on the road, greater alcohol consumption than usual, and shorter days result in a greater number of tragedies than any other holiday. According to the USDOT, roughly 91% of all Americans use a motor vehicle to reach their destination Thanksgiving. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, there is an increase of 54% in the number of road trips longer than 50 miles. That is a huge increase; more than doubled the number of trips that occur during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Over the last two decades, the number of traffic fatalities occur Thanksgiving weekend is more than 556.
The NHTSA cites alcohol abuse as a major factor Thanksgiving weekend accidents, with drivers aged 21 to 24 being the demographic most likely to be involved in a DUI. However, there is another concern that seems to have a significant impact on the number of accidents around the Thanksgiving holiday, and that is vision. It is estimated that at least 11 million Americans are driving with uncorrected vision problems, which leads to impaired driving. These problems are exacerbated at night, and the nights are longer at Thanksgiving. The NHTSA notes that the driving fatality rate between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. is three times higher than that during the day.
In the spirit of the holiday, the Texas Department of Public Safety has issued three pieces of advice to all motorists who travel the state during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The first, of course, is “don’t drink and drive.”
The second piece of advice is “anticipate when the most people will be on the road.” The first and last days of any holiday weekend are when the traffic will be heaviest. Traffic will begin to pick up late Wednesday afternoon and continue through Monday morning. They also note that Thursday evening will probably feature more traffic than usual, because many “Black Friday” sales are beginning to occur at that time. They ask Texas drivers take their time, follow speed limits and try not to be hurry, no matter how good the deals seem.
And the last piece of advice for motorists is to put their cell phones and other electronics away, and spend all of their time concentrating on the road. They recommend that if anyone needs to make a call they should pull over to make it.
DPS will be beefing up patrols of all major highways throughout Texas, and local law enforcement plans to have a heavy presence around shopping areas and local roads, in an effort to keep everyone safer.
The Auto Accident Lawyers at Hill Law Firm want everyone to make it to their destination and back this Thanksgiving, so enjoy your time off and please drive safely.