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What You Need to Know About Thanksgiving Travel

THANKSGIVING TRAVEL: MORE DANGEROUS THAN UNDER-COOKED TURKEY?

The time of year when family and friends gather to celebrate a uniquely American tradition is fast approaching. For many, Thanksgiving is the holiday when travel is most likely, since a lot of people prefer to spend the Christmas or Hanukkah season at home. According to the AAA, 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home this Thanksgiving, the most since 2005, and a 4.8% increase over last year.

The National Security Council, the NSC, tracks accidents and fatalities during holiday periods. The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as lasting from Wednesday, November 27, 6:00pm to December 1, 11:59pm. Based on prior Thanksgiving period accident and fatality statistics, the NSC estimates with a 90% confidence rate that between 374—463 people will die on U.S. roads this Thanksgiving holiday period. Traveling by car has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation, and more people will travel by that mode of transportation than any other this Thanksgiving.

Fatalities on roadways peaked at a little over 600 in 2006, then fell to under 400 in 2013, coinciding with a low number of people traveling that year. Fatalities rose a little in 2017 to app. 430 in 2017. Fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday period as a percentage of the month of November from 2013 to 2018 average 12.6%.

THE CAUSES

While some of the causes of the Thanksgiving fatalities are familiar—speeding, driving while impaired, distracted driving—a new cause creeps into the list this time of year: road rage. Road rage is already prevalent and a cause of accidents as well as assaults on roadways, but during the holiday season it unfortunately increases. Holiday stress, increased traffic, full parking lots, visitors from out of town who are unfamiliar with local roads and who can cause more traffic problems and aggravation, and more than usual alcohol/drug consumption can all lead to more road rage.

If confronted by an enraged driver, DMV.org recommends that you be the bigger person and avoid conflict by: waving; mouthing an apology; and allowing the enraged driver plenty of room to pass. If the situation does not diffuse, call 911 before it escalates into violence. Remember, it is better to allow an enraged driver to think he/she has “won” a confrontation and to pass, than to be the victim of an assault, car crash, or worse.

SAFETY TIPS

When preparing to travel to your destination this Thanksgiving, remember these simple pieces of advice:

1. If you can, travel at times and/or on days that are less crowded.

2. Check the air pressure in your tires, and your radiator and windshield wiper

fluids, and oil.

3. Slow down!

4. No phone use while driving. Distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of

roadway accidents.

5. Clean lights and windows—inside and out.

6. Avoid the three D’s while driving: drunk, distracted, and drowsy.

CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY

If you or someone you know is injured in an accident this holiday season, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your legal rights to compensation.

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