There is always potential for danger anytime you venture out onto the road in a vehicle. But the risks are exacerbated around the Thanksgiving holiday, which this year is expected to spur 65 million people to travel some distance to be with family and loved ones.
Of those, 25 million are expected to fly, while 40 million will take to the roads.
This year, the National Safety Council’s annual estimate on the number of traffic deaths over the 4.25-day weekend is 433. An estimated 52,300 will be seriously injured as a result of crashes. These figures are both significantly higher than in years past. The six-year average for 2008 through 2013 is 407. This factors in all road-related fatalities between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
On average, this time frame has accounted for 13.52 percent of the traffic deaths for the total month of November. The increased projection takes into account the fact that during the first nine months of 2015, as compared to 2014, the number of auto accident fatalities shot up 10 percent.
The NSC’s figures have been fairly close to the mark in recent years.
While connecting with family and friends and giving thanks is worth most travel headaches, it isn’t worth anyone’s life. But people are too often caught up in the frenetic pace of the season rush.
College students return home in droves and head out drinking with their high school buddies. This is a big part of the reason why Thanksgiving is often one of the holidays with the most drunk driving accidents and arrests. In fact, for several years running, Thanksgiving has been a deadlier holiday than New Year’s Eve.
But it’s not as if travelers are helpless. One of the best ways to protect drivers and passengers is with seat belts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 13 percent of drivers and passengers don’t buckle up. These individuals comprise a disproportionate number of traffic deaths – nearly 45 percent. The NSC opines that seat belts will save 164 lives this Thanksgiving holiday. It’s imperative for everyone in the vehicle to wear a seat belt, even when traveling a relatively short distance.
For those traveling longer distances – especially to northern states – it’s necessary to make sure your vehicle is ready to withstand winter weather. That means having it examined to make sure tires are properly inflated, the windshield wiper fluid is full and there are no other major issues that may cause you to break down or worse, crash. It’s also necessary to remember to get enough rest before the trip, as fatigue often plays a major role in holiday crashes with drivers traveling long distances. Stop frequently to rest as you need. And if you do encounter snow or ice, drive slowly. Particularly for those who aren’t used to navigating this kind of terrain, driving over or through it at excess speed can be extremely dangerous.
Remember too that distraction can be deadly. So if you need to make a call or access GPS, either pull over or give the duty to a passenger.
Finally, if you do plan on imbibing, whether out with friends or during the meal, arrange for a sober driver or plan to stay where you are.
And if you are injured in a Thanksgiving DUI as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact our experienced Asheville injury lawyers to learn more about how we can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering and more.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Thanksgiving Holiday Period Traffic Fatality Estimate, 2015, Nov. 4, 2015, National Safety Council
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