Turkey dinner with all the fixings, friends, family, drinks, and more makes Thanksgiving the best time of year. But, unfortunately, Thanksgiving is also one of the most accident-prone times. That’s because it’s one of the most heavily traveled holidays. On top of that, with COVID-19 travel restrictions in the past few years, people are more eager than ever to gather and celebrate the holidays. And the heavy traffic doesn’t seem to be an obstacle for anyone.
Approximately 50 million people drive their vehicles to travel for Thanksgiving. With the increased number of people on the roads and other factors, car accidents will surely spike during Thanksgiving and around Black Friday.
According to data from the National Safety Council, auto accidents increase drastically from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the Sunday after. Here are some figures to reflect the spike in auto accidents:
- 34% more car accidents than usual on Black Friday
- 25% more accidents on Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving
- And 20% higher accident rates on Thanksgiving day
These rates are relative to the two weeks before and after Thanksgiving day. Additional data from the National Safety Council reported about 400 annual fatalities and 48,500 injuries in car accidents around the Thanksgiving holiday.
The most common accidents on Black Friday are backing or parking-related accidents in parking lots. With shoppers hungry for deals, malls, stores, and shopping areas experience a mad rush.
Historically, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the highest annual day for out-of-state car accidents. According to Progressive, the safest day to travel is Monday before Thanksgiving, which decreases your odds of an accident by 37%. But, if you must travel before the weekend is over, you’re 17% less likely to get into an accident if you drive on Saturday, as opposed to Sunday.
Why Do Car Accidents Increase During the Thanksgiving Holiday?
Traffic is one of many factors causing increased accidents around Thanksgiving. Some other causes of increased car accidents during the holidays are drowsy driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, and aggressive driving. Drowsy driving is especially prevalent around Thanksgiving time. After all the eating and drinking, many of us will feel full, tired, and maybe even tipsy.
There is often bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highways, overcrowded parking lots, and overall highest congestion during the busy holiday season. Additionally, everyone is traveling to visit friends and family. Add Black Friday to the mix, and now you have great potential for collision.
Whether talking to family members or downloading Black Friday coupons, using your cell phone while driving is an extreme distraction; furthermore, it’s dangerous. We understand you have a long to-do list and are probably excited about the holidays. But whatever it is can wait; it’s not worth getting into a car accident. That will further delay your holiday plans and complicate what should be a joyful time of year.
Tired driving is a primary culprit for the spike in accidents around Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Many people drive long hours, possibly after a plane ride, waking up early and staying up late. Some even camp out overnight to ensure they grab some Black Friday deals. Studies show that fatigued driving is just as dangerous, if not more, than driving while intoxicated,
Everyone wants to let loose and have a few drinks around the holidays—especially Thanksgiving when the weather gets colder and we’ve finished the first “back-to-school” cycle. However, drunk driving is a serious concern during the holidays and any time of the year. Celebrate the season, but don’t jeopardize your and others’ safety. If it’s been a particularly tough year and you decide to indulge, don’t get behind the wheel afterward.
Aggressive or Reckless Driving
Nobody likes getting stuck in traffic. It’s frustrating and, for some, can feel unbearable if you have somewhere you’d rather be. However, you might never make it to your destination if you engage in aggressive driving like speeding, tailgating, or weaving through lanes. Try to take extra caution in parking lots, where the crowds and frustrations can get to an all-time high around this time of year. Making a mistake in the heat of the moment can have drastic consequences for you and other drivers or pedestrians.
More Drivers On the Road
Given that millions of Americans will be on the road to visit their loved ones, the odds of accidents will grow too. While some may only be driving a few miles, others travel hundreds. So however far you’re going, remember that more cars mean a higher chance of accidents.
In Colorado, Thanksgiving arrives right around the least pleasant weather months. As a result, the roads are sure to be slick and slushy, requiring additional attentiveness from drivers.
Black ice is particularly dangerous because you can’t see it immediately. We often only know black ice is present once we start to skid. Inclement weather conditions pose a severe threat to drivers, especially if they are drunk or eager to arrive. Be careful driving at night with lower visibility, as this, paired with inclement weather, is a recipe for disaster.
Driving In Unfamiliar Area
If you are in a new area and need to follow a GPS navigation system, you might constantly be taking your eyes off the road. That increases your odds of getting into an accident. Additionally, if you’re unfamiliar with a given area, there might be unexpected road conditions, like a sudden sharp turn. Being in a new area is hazardous, especially with heavy traffic. Try to review your route before driving to be more aware of your next steps while driving.
Tips to Avoid a Car Accident on Thanksgiving and Black Friday
While you can’t control other drivers on the road, you can be a defensive driver. You can also commit to making safety a top priority. That means being proactive and ensuring you and your passengers arrive safely at your destination. As you prepare for the holiday weekend, here are some tips to help you stay safe and avoid a car accident:
Anticipate Traffic Congestion
Avoid driving at peak hours and leave early. That way, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to arrive on time.
Try to Stay Patient
Getting stuck in traffic is annoying. But getting into a car accident is more annoying. So don’t be “that driver” on the road, tailgating, switching lanes, slamming brakes, or cutting people off. It won’t help you get to your destination any earlier and will pose a risk to you and other drivers.
Maintain Your Vehicle to Make Sure It’s Operating Smoothly and in Good Working Order
If you’re going to drive a long distance for the holidays, ensure you’ve covered all maintenance and repairs beforehand. Take your car to a mechanic if necessary to check tire pressures, brakes, and the engines, and check that all lights are working. In addition, make sure you’ve made all necessary repairs and refilled all fluids before your trip.
Rest Up Before You Hit the Road
Try to get a good night’s sleep before a long day of driving. Also, stop for breaks often. Getting out of the car for a stretch and fresh air can energize your mind and body. If you have multiple passengers, try rotating driving duty.
Have a Plan
If you plan your route ahead of time, you’ll rely less on your GPS. Having a better idea of where you’re going means you’ll be less distracted and more confident on your route.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Your seatbelt won’t prevent accidents, but it can save your life and prevent serious injuries.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Don’t get behind the wheel if you really let loose this holiday season. Instead, stay at your friends or family’s house, call a cab, or catch a ride with someone sober.
What Should I Do After a Thanksgiving or Black Friday Car Accident
Nothing can ruin the holiday spirit like a car accident. But, if you know what steps to follow after a collision, the process might move along more smoothly. You’ll also feel less stressed and overwhelmed after the accident. Here are some tips:
- Report the accident to local authorities. Call 911 immediately and ask for an ambulance if anyone is injured. Be sure to speak with the police to give your version of the accident. A police report will also provide evidence later if you need to pursue a personal injury claim.
- Get medical treatment, even if you don’t think your injury is serious. A professional medical examination is imperative for several reasons. First, the adrenaline of the crash could mask your initial pain perception, so you don’t feel pain until later. Second, some injuries take time to develop and show up, so you might have a severe injury that isn’t obvious yet. If you don’t get immediate medical care, the other party and insurance companies will assume your injuries must not have been severe.
- Take pictures of everything. If you don’t have any severe injuries preventing you from taking pictures, take them. It would help if you tried to get photos of the accident scene, your car, the other vehicle, any injuries, skis marks, debris on the road, and weather conditions.
- Exchange information with the other driver, including contact, insurance, and license plate. Keep your communication with them to a minimum. Most importantly, don’t say anything that alludes to admitting fault or that the other party could use against you later. Don’t apologize, as the other party can mistake this for admitting fault.
- Talk to any nearby witnesses and get their contact information.
- Contact your insurance company immediately to notify them that you were in an accident.
- Call a Denver Car Accident Lawyer for sound legal advice on how to proceed.
Possible Damages From a Car Accident
You have legal recourse if you sustain injuries in a car accident on Thanksgiving or Black Friday due to another driver’s negligence. Moreover, you could recover damages if the other driver were fatigued, drunk, distracted, or otherwise negligent. Some examples of damages you can seek include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Missed work
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
An experienced Denver car accident lawyer can discuss the for which you can seek compensation.
Contact A Denver Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Stay safe, and have a happy holiday. Call us if you or a loved one gets into a car accident around Thanksgiving or Black Friday weekend due to someone else’s negligence.
Remember to be extra cautious while driving over the holidays and that the Wednesday and Sunday of Thanksgiving week are the most dangerous days. If you’re at the mall, it’s worth finding a spot further away from the entrance and walking. Avoid parking at the end of an aisle or near a car parked at an angle. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth over a pound of cure when it comes to driving safety.
The last thing we want to deal with around the holiday season is a car accident and the related damages.
Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation, or call 720-500-HURT.