Thanksgiving was the second deadliest holiday on the roads in 2017, and this year some 433 people could lose their lives in traffic fatalities during the holiday period, according to the latest estimates from the National Safety Council.
In addition, another 49,400 people may be seriously injured in roadway collisions over the Thanksgiving holiday which runs from 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21 to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25.
A year ago, 463 people lost their lives during the Thanksgiving holiday period. The council had estimated it at 421.
Whether a holiday or not, alcohol is an ongoing factor in fatal crashes. Thanksgiving is particularly vulnerable to this issue. Trends indicate that on average, over one-third of roadway fatalities during the holiday weekend involve alcohol-impaired drivers.
Drivers should be extra cautious during the Thanksgiving holiday. Stay clear of other motorists who speed or swerve out of their lanes, as they may be alcohol- or drug-impaired.
In addition, keep calm and be prepared for aggressive drivers. Thanksgiving ranks among the top traffic days of the year, so give yourself ample time to get to your destination and do not engage with hostile drivers who may be frustrated by bumper to bumper traffic.
The council also recommends drivers take the following steps to ensure their safety over the Thanksgiving holiday:
- Buckle up on every trip.
- Drive attentively and disconnect — even hands-free cell phone use is risky.
- Get plenty of sleep before driving and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
- Familiarize yourself with your vehicle's safety systems.
- Check your vehicle for recalls at CheckToProtect.org.