If you had to guess what holiday sees the most deadly DUI accidents, what would you pick? Most people would pick either New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve — there’s some overlap, as the late-night parties usually spill over into the early morning. Some may pick St. Patrick’s Day or the Fourth of July.
And they would all be wrong.
According to studies of recent DUI statistics, the holiday with the most fatalities is Thanksgiving Eve. Since Thanksgiving is on a Thursday, this is technically a Wednesday night/early Thursday morning. Though this day does not have an official name — you rarely even hear people call it Thanksgiving Eve — some have taken to calling it Blackout Wednesday. It has also been dubbed Friendsgiving or the less inventive but perhaps more appropriate Drinksgiving.
The uptick in deadly crashes on Wednesday makes the entire holiday weekend one of the most deadly weekends in America, year in and year out. If you look at the statistics between 2012 and 2016, for instance, you can find more than 800 fatalities on average for that long weekend. No other holiday has that many average deaths, and you can see those types of statistics consistently.
The party day
As you can see from the “Friendsgiving” nickname, the focus on Thanksgiving Eve is, for many people, different than Thanksgiving itself. While the main holiday is usually a low-key time that they spend with family, the night before is when they get together with their friends. It’s the party holiday, more in line with something like New Year’s Day. It is, by most accounts, the single largest bar night in the country.
Part of that has to do with travel. Imagine that you are a young professional or a college student. You move from your hometown to go to college, and you now live on your own. Typically, you’d spend time with friends at your apartment or your house.
Now that you’re home for Thanksgiving, though, you’re spending the long weekend with your parents. You’re not going to throw the get-together at their house, but you still want to see everyone that you know in town. On Thanksgiving, you will all be with your respective families. As a result, you and your friends go to a bar in town the night before, spend the evening hanging out, and then you all drive home.
Even if you are responsible personally and avoid drunk driving, many people do not, and the risks increase.
After an accident
There’s nothing wrong with spending time with friends over the holidays. But you do have to understand your risks. If you get injured in an accident with a drunk driver in Bowling Green, you may need to seek compensation.