Help everyone stay safe on the roads this Thanksgiving
Black Friday is a thing. So is Cyber Monday. But have you ever heard of “Blackout Wednesday,” “Drinksgiving,” or “Thanksgiving Eve?” How about “Danksgiving?” No matter the term, they all mean a booze and/or weed fest that’s bad news for anyone on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA), these days bookend the single highest period of fatal car accidents during the year. The dangerous stretch starts at 6:00 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and runs through the holiday weekend to end at 5:59 a.m. on Monday.
The terms “Blackout Wednesday,” “Drinksgiving,” and “Thanksgiving Eve” are based on binge drinking that starts the day before the holiday. Alcohol sales jump by about 114%, so it’s not surprising that a recent survey identified more than 800 drunk driving-related fatal crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Danksgiving” is a newer term connected to using recreational marijuana over the holiday weekend. While driving high is illegal in all states, even those that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, there are some serious misconceptions about its effect on drivers.
A September 2019 survey found that 48% of cannabis users believe it’s safe to drive after using. That’s simply not accurate. While no data specifically related to vehicle accidents caused by driving stoned over the Thanksgiving holiday is yet available, a 2018 study showed that Colorado (the first state to legalize recreational use of cannabis) had 12.5% more collision claims than nearby states where cannabis has not yet been approved. Simply put, driving high is not only illegal—it’s driving impaired.
How much would a DUI conviction cost you?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. The NHTSA estimates that a DUI could set you back “about $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing and repairs, and more.” Driving drunk or high is just not worth it.
If you plan to drink or use cannabis over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday, use alternate travel strategies to stay out of court. Consider doing the following:
- Take public transportation if you live in an urban area.
- See if your community has a sober ride program and use it if needed.
- Put a ride-sharing service app on your phone so a safe ride is just a tap away.
- Call a taxi.
- Appoint a designated driver if you’re going out with family or friends—and hold them to a non-drinking/non-smoking policy.
Report suspected impaired drivers
Impaired drivers are a danger to everyone. If you see a vehicle doing any of the following, call 911 immediately.
- Weaving between lanes or straddling two lanes
- Braking or accelerating erratically
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Driving too slowly
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
Tell the operator where you are and as much about the vehicle as you can, including color, make, model, and direction of travel. Provide the license plate number if possible.
Get there safely
Enjoy the holiday in safety and travel smart. Don’t drive after drinking or using marijuana and keep an eye out for others who may not be as responsible. Always wear your seatbelt and make plans for alternate transportation. Your goal is to arrive alive.
Our Risk Coaches are licensed insurance professionals who are trained to look at coverage from your perspective. They’re glad to help you navigate the often-perplexing world of insurance coverage. Contact your local Risk Coach™ professional, or call us at 800.342.5342 Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.