For many people, the holiday season represents time spent away from work, time spent with the family and time spent with close friends. Unfortunately, the combination of these factors can lead to dangerous situations on the road.
Many people see the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, often referred to as “Blackout Wednesday,” as a way to take advantage of the upcoming day off and get together with friends and family who are in town for the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, this often leads to overindulgence which can result in impaired driving – whether from drugs, alcohol or fatigue. This has become such a phenomenon that the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has released figures to warn drivers of the potential danger.
In a study spanning from 2015 to 2019, the DOT noted that 135 drivers were involved in alcohol-related fatal crashes on Blackout Wednesday and nearly 800 people were killed in alcohol-related collisions over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Why does this happen?
Thanksgiving weekend represents a joyous time of the year. It is a long weekend that essentially starts as soon as you leave work on Wednesday. This can lead to dangerous road conditions for numerous reasons, including:
- Distracted driving as people are calling, texting and checking email attempting to finalize plans for the evening.
- Drunk or drugged driving as individuals leave a party to go home or head to another gathering.
- Poor weather conditions as the end of November can be a treacherous time for snow, sleet or hail in Buffalo.
- Crowded roadways as out of town visitors, vacationers, off-work employees and on-break students are all driving from place to place at the same time.
- Fatigued driving as people get behind the wheel when they are drowsy.
Any of these factors can result in severe collisions on busy city streets or fast-moving highways. When more than one factor is combined, however, the collision can often turn deadly.
Additionally, law enforcement tends to be hyper-vigilant during this and other holiday weekends. In certain circumstances, they might see impairment where none exists. In these situations, it is crucial that a driver takes the time to secure his or her legal rights to reduce or eliminate the severe criminal penalties for a DUI conviction. On the other side, if you or a family member were a victim of a accident that resulted from driving under the influence, you should explore your legal options to pursue compensation for the injuries that were inflicted.