When you think of Thanksgiving, the first things that come to mind are probably turkey and pumpkin pie, not car crashes. But as a Memphis car crash attorney, I know that, ironically, one of our happiest, warmest holidays is also one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is considered the busiest travel day of the year, with many Americans driving at least 50 miles for their holiday plans. Between the increase in traffic, inclement weather, and the increased use of alcohol over the holiday season, there’s a significantly higher chance of getting into a car accident. This year, the National Safety Council estimates that 417 people may be killed and another 47,500 may be seriously injured in car crashes throughout the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Next Thursday is a day to celebrate the meaning of gratitude. I hope that the tips below will help you make it safely to your destination, so you can appreciate the gift of family.

1. Don’t get behind the wheel after drinking, and be on the lookout for impaired drivers.

We all know about Black Friday, but have you heard of “Blackout Wednesday”? There’s so much drinking on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as many head home and reconnect with old friends, that it’s gotten the nickname in recent years.

Use public transportation or a designated driver to plan ahead so you can avoid driving impaired yourself—and be mindful of others who may not be making as responsible decisions.

2. Be patient.

Easier said than done, I know. But with more than 40 million Americans traveling for the holiday, some degree of Thanksgiving traffic is inevitable, and we all need to do our part to stay calm. My best advice is to not leave home without at least a few snacks.

3. Avoid fatigue.

Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as impaired driving. In fact, I’d venture to say that it is a form of impaired driving. And it’s a common cause of car accidents, particularly during the holiday season: people are putting in long hours at work on Wednesday before heading on the road for the next day’s festivities.

We’re understandably more reluctant to snatch keys from a tired friend than from an intoxicated one, but these statistics from the National Safety Council go to show just how dangerous drowsy driving can be:

  • You’re three times more likely to be in a car crash if you’re fatigued.
  • More than 5,000 people died in car accidents related to driving drowsy in 2014.
  • Losing even two hours of sleep can be similar to the effect of drinking three beers.
  • If you’ve been awake for more than 20 hours, that’s the equivalent of being legally drunk.

If you have to drive after a full day of work, please travel with a friend and take turns. If you feel tired, remember to pull over and rest.

Get Help From a Memphis Car Crash Attorney

If you’ve been the victim of someone else’s reckless driving this holiday season, a Memphis car crash attorney can fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.

Our lawyers understand the physical and emotional toll of a car accident, and we are here for you. Contact us here or call (901) 327-2100 today.