The statistics alone are staggering. In 2010, 431 people were killed in car accidents on Thanksgiving Day alone. During Thanksgiving week from 2005 to 2010, there was an average of 798 traffic fatalities nationwide, which is about 50 more deaths than on any other week of the year. In 2011, accidents on interstate freeways increased by 25 percent from the previous year.

There are many different causes for the increase in crash deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Perhaps the most significant is relatively simple: when there are more vehicles on the road, there are more opportunities for them to collide with one another.

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Drunk driving is another common cause of Thanksgiving accidents, as many families include wine or beer with their holiday meals. Also, people who are late to Thanksgiving celebrations or who are driving to unfamiliar locations are more prone to speeding and distraction behind the wheel. Finally, November falls in the middle of the fall mating season for deer, which means that there are more animals on or near the roads and more opportunities for cars to collide with them.

Whatever you are doing to mark the holiday, we hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and happy throughout the weekend.

Source: USA Today, “Thanksgiving week one of deadliest on the highway,” Larry Copeland, Nov. 18, 2012

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