Do More Accidents Happen Around the Holidays?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which tracks statistics on vehicle accidents, the answer is yes.

Holidays encourage celebration. And celebrations usually include alcohol consumption. No matter how often we hear the advice “don’t drink and drive,” people still do just that. Whether out of necessity, ignorance or defiance, this is one major cause of holiday accidents


And on which holiday do most accidents occur each year? While you might have guessed New Year’s Day, and that in fact does contribute to this deadly toll, surprisingly, it is Thanksgiving which ranks at the top of the list. Here is the complete list:

Deadliest annual U.S. Holidays for Fatal Automobile Accidents per the U.S. Dept. of Transportation:
1. Thanksgiving Day
2. Labor Day
3. Independence Day
4. Memorial Day
5. Christmas Day
6. New Year’s Day

Nationwide, approximately 100 people die in traffic accidents on any given day. On Thanksgiving, that number increases more than five times to 567, based on the last 25 years of record-keeping. Further, the NHTSA reports that annually the cost of fatal vehicle accidents tops $100 billion in taxpayers dollars, with insurance claims totaling some $36 billion in addition.

But alcohol is not the only cause. The increase in traffic during holiday getaways combined with the need to sometimes drive after dark also contribute to these unfortunate numbers. While most people will not admit to compromised vision especially at night, the truth is that we all see less efficiently with reduced light. When you factor in the effects of glaring headlights, weather events, distractions and yes, alcohol, the risks of holiday driving are exacerbated enormously.

What can we do to avoid becoming victims? Although common sense says, stay off the road, that is not likely when we all crave to see our loved ones, who are sometimes far away. Next best solution: drive safely and responsibly.

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