“Drinksgiving” and Traffic Accidents

Maybe it is due to the constant stream of news – not just celebrity gossip, sports triumphs, and current events, but also the unique kind of action-packed politics of recent years – but it seems like 2018 has flown by. Already the last pages of the calendar are in sight, and the final holidays of the year are ticking by. Nevada Day is a distant memory, Election Day has passed, and Veterans’ Day is over.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many have already made travel plans. Those who have are the wisest among us, because last-minute travel can be costly. According to Google’s Travel team, flights are cheapest when you book them three months in advance of the holiday. If you wait until the month before to book a flight, prices increase by 95%, and there is another 30% increase if you wait until November. [1] For those of us who still don’t have a flight booked in the week before the holiday, chances are we are either planning on staying home for turkey dinner or are driving to our destinations.

Such a large number of people attempting to make reach friends’ and relatives’ homes by the afternoon of Thanksgiving Thursday means a huge increase in the number of motor vehicles on the roads and freeways. This leads to delays and an increase in motor vehicle accidents. People are more likely to find themselves in an injury accident when driving on a holiday weekend than at other times of the year. [2] This is due to the increase in the number of drivers on the road as well as the increased likelihood of them being distracted or under the influence of alcohol.

The most dangerous day to drive this week may not be Thanksgiving itself but the Wednesday preceding it. Sometimes referred to as “Blackout Wednesday”, “Black Wednesday”, or “Drinksgiving”, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has become notorious in the last decade as one of the biggest drinking days of the year. This is due to the rush of college students and young adults returning home and getting together with peers at bars and restaurants. There was even a movie made in 2016 titled “Drinksgiving” which chronicled the phenomenon. Many bars recognize the occasion and offer specials to lure young adults to their establishments. Staffing is increased to compensate for the rush, and bars and restaurants anticipate a big night at the cash register. [3]

However, police departments have also noticed the trend and are stepping up enforcement to prevent drunk driving. More young people out at the bars leads to more of them attempting to drive themselves home. According data from 2011-2015 from the Department of Public Safety, one district saw 74 drunk driving arrests on Drinksgiving, up from 47 on an average Wednesday. [4]

If you do find yourself in a car accident this Wednesday, follow some simple guidelines. Stay calm and assess the situation. Make sure you are in a safe location or move to one as quickly as you can. If your car is unable to move, turn on your hazard lights or set up flares to alert other vehicles. Check for injuries, both your own and those of your passengers, and call for an ambulance if necessary. No matter what, call the police. This may be required by law, and if not, it can help establish liability in the case of an insurance dispute. Exchange information with the other driver, including name, address, driver license, and insurance company name and policy number. Write down any information you can remember about the accident and take lots of pictures to document the event. If possible, ask witnesses to do the same. [5] Finally, call your insurance company and contact an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure you understand your rights.

[1] https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/thanksgiving-2018-flights/index.html

[2] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/memorial-day-driving-car-accidents

[3] http://www.startribune.com/how-the-night-before-thanksgiving-became-the-biggest-drinking-day-of-the-…

[4] http://www.startribune.com/how-the-night-before-thanksgiving-became-the-biggest-drinking-day-of-the-…

[5] https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/heading-out-on-your-own-day-12-what-to-do-if-you-get-in-a-ca…

Image Credit: Lea Johnson of the United States Air Force

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