When most people think about Thanksgiving, their brains immediately go to the three “Fs” – food, family, and football. It’s a day of gorging ourselves on hearty fare, surrounding ourselves with people we love (and, let’s be honest, sometimes a few that we just tolerate), and taking in the big games of the day. But for a huge number of Americans, the holiday is about something else as well – driving.
It is estimated that more than 46 million people in this country will drive 50 or more miles over the Thanksgiving weekend, including over two million Floridians. That’s a lot of cars on the road at once, but drivers in the Sunshine State are used to dealing with crowded roadways. Why should traveling on Thanksgiving weekend be of any special concern? There are many reasons.
Why Drivers Should Pay More Attention on Thanksgiving Weekend
We’re all in a big hurry. No one wants to miss out on mom’s one-of-a-kind stuffing or grandma’s pecan pie, so if we can’t get off early to head to our Thanksgiving destination, we’re going to be rushing to get there. And those of us who do use the long weekend as a mini-vacation and stay with friends or family for the weekend will likely be rushing to get back home at the end of it so that we don’t miss work on Monday. Either way, there will be speeding. When you combine this with the fact that so many people are going to be driving in unfamiliar surroundings, it’s a recipe for disaster.
We don’t want to miss out on big deals. If the Thanksgiving holiday weekend was just about the three “Fs” mentioned above, it might not be quite so deadly. Unfortunately, it’s also all about “S” – as in shopping. Retailers and Christmas deal-seekers have made Black Friday and the entire Thanksgiving weekend one of the busiest shopping periods of the year, and no one wants to let someone else beat them to a big sale. This not only leads to people driving recklessly to hurry from sale to sale, often checking mobile devices for directions or the latest deals, but also encourages them to head out onto the roads in the wee hours of the morning and brave the darkness so they can be first in line. Driving in darkness is always more dangerous – especially when you’re not used to doing it.
The alcohol is flowing. Turkey may not really make you sleepy, but drinking lots of alcohol can. More importantly, it makes you too impaired to drive. But many people don’t realize how tipsy they are because they’ve been eating and drinking over the course of several hours. Even if they’re not “drunk” when they get in their cars to drive home after the big meal, their reaction time will likely be slowed and their judgment might not be at its best. Watch out for anyone who seems to be driving erratically and stay far away if you can.
More travelers means more non-local drivers. We may be used to our fellow Florida locals crowding our streets and highways as they make their daily commute, but at least when that happens most of them are very familiar with the route and all of the inherent perils. On Thanksgiving weekend, lots of people will be driving on roads and in towns for the first time as they visit family or friends. This makes them more dangerous because they may drive slower, make sudden stops, or go the wrong way simply because they don’t know the area as well.
Really, it boils down to one big thing: Thanksgiving weekend is one of the deadliest times to drive, and if you don’t want to be among the more than 400 fatalities that the National Safety Council is predicting this year, you need to take care. And if you are injured or someone you love is killed due to another driver’s negligence, contact an auto accident attorney immediately so you won’t end up paying further for their mistake.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphy. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”