Is Driving on Thanksgiving Weekend Really Bad For Your Health?

By now you’ve read a hundred articles on how dangerous it is to drive on the holidays. They will all tell you that accident rates go up, and that you need to watch out. That’s good advice.

One thing the articles don’t agree on is which holiday is the most dangerous. Some will tell you Independence Day, others Memorial Day, still others Christmas. Sometimes even Thanksgiving tops the list.

Why should drivers be particularly wary on Thanksgiving weekend?

  • Drunk drivers. You knew about this one – everyone has a wonderful excuse to drink on Thanksgiving. You’re sharing good times with family and friends, and want to raise a glass or two. Unfortunately it’s a special day – not a regular night on the town, so no one wants to be the designated driver and give up the chance to drink on Thanksgiving. If that’s the case, make plans to stay over, or take a taxi. After all, it’s only once a year.
  • More drivers. Because Thanksgiving is always a four-day weekend, people will travel longer to visit families. That means more crowded highways, more drivers on unfamiliar roads, and more drivers in cars crammed with noisy and distracting families. You get the idea.
  • Drowsy drivers. Even people who never touch a drop have probably eaten several helpings of turkey, stuffing, Aunt Bertha’s creamed onions, and a slice each of pumpkin and pecan pie. No, the tryptophan in turkey is an urban legend, but that much food will make anyone sleepy. If they’re on the road, watch out.
  • Deer. You didn’t see this one coming, did you? For some reason, Thanksgiving weekend is the holiday  period during which one is most likely to run into a deer. They’re out looking for food this time of year, especially at night. So drive carefully if you’re going through green areas. Residents of Manhattan and downtown Los Angeles can probably ignore this advice.

We don’t want to give you the impression that Thanksgiving is a disaster waiting to happen. All you need to do to stay safe is take a few sensible precautions:

  • Avoid the rush. If you can spare the time, take off a day earlier and beat the crowds. Head home a bit earlier too. Your family will be happy to have extra hands to peel the sweet potatoes.
  • Drive defensively. A shade slower, with just that much extra vigilance.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Just in case no one’s told you that before.