The Thanksgiving holiday is among the deadliest when it comes to motor vehicle crashes in Michigan and throughout the country. There are many reasons for the rise in car crash fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday period, from an increase in the total number of vehicles on the road to a spike in intoxicated driving. Indeed, according to an article in U.S. News & World Report, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is commonly described as “Drinksgiving,” and is indeed the biggest day for alcohol consumption throughout the year.
More Vehicles on the Road at Thanksgiving and Increase in Drunk Driving Collisions
Why is Thanksgiving such a dangerous time of the year for car accidents? In large part, there are two reasons: more vehicles on the roads and more drunk drivers. Anytime there are more cars, there tends to be a rise in the total number of accidents. When drunk drivers are added into the mix, those collisions often are life-threatening and deadly. More than 400 people, on average, sustain fatal injuries in car crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday, and nearly 50,000 suffer injuries in accidents.
According to U.S. News & World Report, more than 35 percent of traffic deaths over the Thanksgiving holiday “involved a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration level of at least 0.08,” whereas alcohol is a factor in about 30 percent of all fatal crashes throughout the year. States in the Midwest, West, and South tend to have higher rates of car accidents—including during Thanksgiving—than states in other regions of the country.
COVID-19 Traffic Patterns
Will anything change this Thanksgiving in terms of the overall accident rate given that we are in the middle of a global pandemic? According to a report from Government Technology, the coronavirus pandemic has significantly shifted traffic patterns in major urban areas, and even throughout the suburbs, across the U.S. Fewer people are commuting to work each day, and many are staying home more often in order to avoid exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 infection. To be sure, more than 75 percent of American employees who work in offices continue to work from home for at least one day out of the week (and often more), and a large number of those employees likely will continue working from home even once the pandemic eases.
Accordingly, there are fewer cars on the roads during rush hours, and the total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has decreased by more than 16 percent since April 2020. Yet although fewer vehicles are on the roads, car crash deaths have actually risen during the pandemic. To be sure, recent analyses suggest that traffic fatalities have increased by approximately 30 percent over the last eight months. More motorists are engaging in risky behaviors—in particular excessive speeding—which is resulting in a higher rate of car accident deaths.
What Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Mean for Travel During the Thanksgiving Holiday?
With less traffic in general but higher rates of dangerous driving behavior, what will the pandemic mean for Thanksgiving road travel? It is possible that fewer people will be on the roads, so we will not see a noticeable spike in deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday. At the same time, however, the fact that more drivers are speeding excessively and causing deadly collisions could result in this year’s Thanksgiving holiday being deadlier than ever as Michigan residents and other Americans opt for car travel to see loved ones over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you have questions about filing an auto crash claim, one of the aggressive Michigan car accident attorneys at our firm can help. Contact Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC for more information.