Families across New York State look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with loved ones, which is why it is disturbing to learn that the holiday ranks #3 as the deadliest time of year to be on the road. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) looks to key weekends and periods around every US holiday to assess safety issues, so the time from Wednesday 6 p.m. through Monday at 5:59 a.m. is the focus of the analysis. In 2019 and previous years, there have been around 450 fatalities and thousands more injured in car accidents.
However, just as the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of life across the US, the pandemic will have an effect on travel for Thanksgiving 2020. Figures from previous years may not be as helpful in predicting crashes considering the wider range of variables, so it is worth reviewing some factors that could affect your journey. A New York car accident attorney can help with your legal options if you are involved in a collision, but read on for some information on how Thanksgiving travel could be very different in 2020.
Reasons Car Accidents Increase Over Thanksgiving: Setting aside the impact of COVID-19, there is typically a spike in motor vehicle collisions around the Thanksgiving holiday any year. Some of the causes and contributing factors include:
- Drivers will often get behind the wheel after having wine with dinner and other celebratory cocktails, so there is an increase in DUI accidents. According to NHTSA, more than 800 individuals were killed in drunk driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday from 2013 to 2017.
- As one of the biggest special occasions of the year, guests will often drive long distances to celebrate the holiday with loved ones. The result is more vehicles sharing New York roadways.
- Motorists tend to become more fatigued on long road trips, especially after a big meal. Drowsy driving is a form of impairment because of slowed reaction time.
- Many individuals like to get a head start on holiday travel by leaving Wednesday evening, compounding the typical evening rush hour traffic.
- Rain, sleet, snow, and fog are common in New York in November, leading to hazardous road conditions. Note that the outlook from the Farmer’s Almanac indicates a mix of these wintry weather in the Northeast this year.
COVID-19 and Thanksgiving Travel in 2020: Uncertainty surrounds all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and holiday travel is no exception. Any of the following factors may impact the number of auto crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2020:
- Travelers with concerns about the spread of COVID-19 on aircraft may scrap their usual plans to fly. Many more may drive to their destinations this year, further increasing holiday traffic congestion.
- Traffic has been generally lighter over the last few months, encouraging some drivers to exceed the speed limit. Speeding always ranks high among the causes of fatal and injury-causing crashes.
- COVID-19 lockdowns and isolation are taking their toll on individuals who suffer from depression, and the symptoms can worsen over Thanksgiving. Those with mental illness may self-medicate through use of alcohol and drugs, and then make the mistake of driving.
Rely on a New York Car Accident Lawyer for Legal Help
This information may give you an idea of what to expect when traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2020, but collisions can still occur despite taking extra safety precautions. For more information on your legal options as the victim of an auto crash, please contact The Mandel Law Firm by calling (646) 770-3868 or visiting us online. We can schedule a no-cost case evaluation to review your circumstances and determine the best strategy to move forward with your claim.