Thanksgiving Travel: The Most Harmful Holiday Week

 In Car Accidents

When we think of Thanksgiving, food, football, and travel usually come to mind first. Though the first two are highlights of the holiday, the latter is often stressful and frustrating. While it is viewed as a necessary evil, we often overlook the great danger of traveling during the holiday season.  Conventional wisdom leads many to believe that New Year’s Eve is the most dangerous holiday for drivers; this makes sense given the unreliable weather, amount of drivers on the road, and its close association with drinking. However, Thanksgiving is actually the holiday with the most travelers and also the holiday with the most fatalities on the roads.

How dangerous are the roads during Thanksgiving? What makes Thanksgiving weekend such a dangerous time of year? What can we do to prevent accidents? We have answers to these questions and more below.

Risk Factors for Traffic Accidents on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has been the most dangerous holiday for drivers for many years. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Safety Council (NSC) have maintained traffic accident fatality statistics for many years. Looking at the past decade, the 4.5 day weekend for Thanksgiving has accounted for 13.5% to 15% of all the fatal accidents during the month of November, which usually amounts to between 450 and 600 fatalities.

Furthermore, the NHTSA found that 40% of fatal accidents involved drunk drivers from what is referred to as “Black Wednesday” (the night before Thanksgiving is often one the busiest nights of the year for bars) and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Additionally, the NHTSA found that 60% of fatal accidents involved passengers not wearing seat belts.

These preventable issues are the leading factors for fatalities, along with increased traffic. According to AAA in 2013, nearly all (90%) of travel during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend was via automobile, leading to one of the most dense traffic events of the year.

Accident Prevention Tips for Thanksgiving Travel

Many of the fatal risks associated with travelling by car are preventable. First and foremost, remember the basics:

  • Buckle up (whether you’re a driver or passenger).
  • Obey traffic laws (especially speed limits and road work signs).
  • Avoid distractions (put down the cellphone) so you can focus on the road.
  • If you are going to drink, then you must find a designated driver. Depending on where you are celebrating, a taxi or car service may be an option. If not, then communicate with family or friends about who should be the designated driver.
  • If you are driving with others for a long distance to meet relatives or friends, be wise and rotate drivers. There is no need to exhaust yourself behind the wheel and put yourself and others in danger.

The Law Offices of George A. Malliaros: Helping Victims of Car Accidents

If you do find yourself involved in a car accident during the holiday season, please contact the Law Offices of George A. Malliaros at (978) 452-6641 or complete our online contact form quickly and easily. We offer free consultations, and our no fee policy ensures that you do not pay fees or expenses until or unless we achieve a recovery on your behalf.

Mr. Malliaros is a proud native son of Dracut, Massachusetts, and he is eager to help his community become a safer place where justice is served. He will aid you at every step of the way and handle your case with the care and respect you deserve while pursuing a positive outcome.


Copeland, L. (2012, November 18). Thanksgiving week one of deadliest on the highway. USA Today. Retrieved from

Diamond, D. (2014, November 26). The U.S. death rate spikes on Thanksgiving. Here’s why. Forbes. Retrieved from

National Safety Council estimates 433 traffic deaths this Thanksgiving holiday period. (2015, November 19). National Safety Council. Retrieved from

Parks, J. (2013, November 16). Thanksgiving driving statistics | Thanksgiving traffic accidents. Safeauto Blog. Retrieved from

Perch, J. (2012, November 23). Risk of car accidents during Thanksgiving rapidly increases. Retrieved from

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