This week is the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and for many of us, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s mostly likely going to look very different from last year’s Thanksgiving celebration. 

Instead of traveling to see family, many of us will instead stay at home and socially distance for the holiday. And while sad as that may be for many of us, it’s probably the safest option in a year when safety has been a major concern.

But, there will most likely still be an increase of people on the roads over the long weekend, more than what we’d normally see on other non-holiday weekends. And that means that it’s more than likely that we’ll see an increase in motor vehicle accidents, and in some cases, the tragic fatalities resulting from some of those accidents. 

National Safety Council Holiday Accident Estimates

The National Safety Council has released its estimates on how many traffic fatalities they expect to occur for all of the holidays in 2020. While no one can tell exactly what effect the pandemic will have on the holiday season this year, the NSC is still able to come up with a pretty confident estimate, with a 90% confidence interval.

The NSC estimates that 485 fatalities will occur in the United States over the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Considering that it’s country-wide, you may think that’s not a very large number. But remember that the Thanksgiving holiday weekend consists technically of 4 and one quarter days, from the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, to the Sunday after. Given the small time frame that these fatalities are expected to occur in, that is a tragic and unnecessary loss of life.

Also realize that around the country, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is frequently referred to as “Drinksgiving”, due to its popularity as a night for partying, so a lot of these Thanksgiving traffic fatalities that the NSC is estimating will happen, will be due to drivers who are intoxicated. 

All holiday weekends see spikes in the number of drunk driving motor vehicle accidents that occur. But anecdotally, bars and restaurants around the country have reported that “Drinksgiving” has become a busier night than even holidays like New Years Eve. And those anecdotes have some convincing numbers to help back them up.

According to statistics from the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration going back all the way to 1982, comparing the percentage of traffic fatalities involving alcohol-impaired driving for Thanksgiving, against the annual average for that same time period, Thanksgiving had an average of 5% more traffic fatalities that involved intoxicated drivers. In some cases, even as much as 11% more of these types of accidents occurred, which is what happened in 1992.

So this holiday weekend, be sure to arrange a designated driver, or call for an Uber or Lyft driver, if you’re going to be out celebrating the holidays with your friends. You don’t want to turn a joyous reunion into a senseless tragedy. 

And if you are injured in an accident with an intoxicated driver, make sure you contact an experienced attorney in your area as soon as you are able, and after you’ve gotten the appropriate medical treatment. The right attorney will be able to give you important advice on how you can seek fair compensation for the injuries that you may have sustained, and the medical costs that may have been incurred.

Further Reading: Majority of Accidents in El Paso County Caused by Driver Behavior, Says CDOT

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