More than 49 million Americans are planning a trip of 50 miles or more away from home by automobile this Thanksgiving with traffic peaking on Blackout Wednesday and Florida being home to four of the top 10 destinations in the U.S., according to AAA.
“Blackout Wednesday” and “Drinksgiving” on Thanksgiving Eve is a cultural phenomenon associated with binge drinking during the Thanksgiving holiday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns.
“Danksgiving” also occurs during the Thanksgiving weekend but is related to marijuana use.
Florida saw 782 crashes caused by impaired drivers during the Thanksgiving holiday last year, according to Florida Highway Patrol crash citation data.
According to NHTSA, between 2013 and 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period (6 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), making it one of the deadliest holidays on our roads.
“Every single one of these drunk driving deaths was preventable. Every single one left an empty seat at the table and turned a time for families and tradition into a time of tragedy,” said MADD National President Helen Witty.
But what makes the roads even more dangerous this year is that 2019 will the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000.
That is why the NHTSA and its partners are urging the public to drive sober and to help spread the word, and to take the following precautions, so everyone can enjoy a safe Thanksgiving and make it to the table:
Plan ahead and designate a sober driver beforehand.
Use public transportation, a taxi, a ride share service, or your community’s sober ride program to get home safely.
If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
Whether riding or driving, always wear your seat belt.