The last thing anyone wants to think about during a much-anticipated holiday like Thanksgiving Day is a fatal car crash. The focus should be on family, friends, Thanksgiving Day rivalry football games, the turkey and side dishes, and, of course, dessert. I personally will be attending the Natick – Framingham football game with my boys. With all the fun, don’t let your guard down over the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Preparation is key to staying safe while traveling in or out of Massachusetts over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Massachusetts is a heavily populated state and the roads and highways or usually full of traffic. With traffic and accidents anticipated to increase this year, following a few of the tips below may just keep you and your family safe.

Why Experts Project an Increase in Deadly Accidents

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that fatal accidents may claim 515 lives on our nation’s roads and highways this Thanksgiving Day holiday. If the projection is accurate, we could have the most fatal Thanksgiving since 2007.

Impaired Operation of Motor Vehicles

A major contributing cause of fatal crashes is impaired operation of a motor vehicle. The main culprit is alcohol with marijuana also involved.

The NSC reported that during the Thanksgiving Day holiday, 29% of fatalities involved drunk drivers. This may not come as a surprise to some as the night before Thanksgiving is referred by some as “Drinksgiving”. This is because that night is one of the biggest drinking days of the year. Also, the Thanksgiving Day holiday is also observed over a 4-day weekend with plenty of celebration.

Increased Traffic on the Roads and Highways

AAA expects more than 53.4 million people expected to travel. If this prediction holds true, it will be the highest single-year increase in over 15 years. With a projection like this one, everyone should prepare for roads and highways to be remarkably more congested.

The combination of a holiday known for alcohol consumption and an increase in traffic on the roads is a reason for drivers to be prepared to keep themselves, their families, and others safe.

Safety Tips When Travelling by Car This Thanksgiving

Of course, sometimes accidents are unavoidable, but studies and research has shown that many car crashes, injuries, and deaths are preventable. Here are a few tips to consider before traveling by motor vehicle this Thanksgiving Holiday:

  • If you are planning on drinking over the holiday, make arrangements for a designated driver. If no one volunteers to stay sober, prepare ahead of time to use a transportation service company such as Uber or Lyft. Make sure you have the app on your smart phone and will be able to easily call for a ride. With the well-documented dangers of drinking and driving, this should be an obvious tip to follow.
  • Check your vehicle before heading out. Making sure your car is in good working order can help keep you safe while driving over the holiday. Important things to check are tires and tire pressure, fluids and windshield wipers, the brakes, headlights and turn signals. This may reduce the probability of a crash caused by and equipment or maintenance failure.
  • Plan your travel time and be patient. If possible, try to avoid high traffic hours when driving. With traffic expected to increase this Thanksgiving, plan to leave earlier than you normally would to beat the traffic. Also, as frustrating as traffic jams are, be patient. Frustration can lead to aggressive driving, which can be just as dangerous as distracted driving. If the traffic causes you to be running late, try not to speed, change lanes suddenly, or tailgate other drivers.

Here's What to Do If You are Hurt in a Car Crash this Thanksgiving

Even though you may follow the above tips on staying safe, some accidents are unavoidable. We cannot control the actions of others. The statistics wouldn’t be what they are if all we had to do was follow a few reasonable tips to keep ourselves and everyone else safe on the roads. For example, you may remain sober or use an Uber or Lyft for a ride home and still be struck and hurt by a drunk driver. In fact, we represented someone who was injured in a car accident in Framingham while he was in an Uber on the way home from a get-together with friends. He thought he was safe for acting responsibly. Unfortunately, the risks are still out there.

If you are hurt in a car crash caused by a careless or negligent driver over the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend in Massachusetts, you have the right to seek financial compensation for your injuries and losses suffered in the car accident.

You may seek financial compensation for the medical bills incurred to treat any injuries suffered in the crash. You also have the right to compensation for lost wages if your injuries from the crash prevent you from working and earning your pay. Don’t suffer the financial burden of the medical bills and lost wages because a drunk or negligent driver caused the crash and your injuries. You deserve fair compensation.

To obtain the compensation you deserve, you need an experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer on your side. The Framingham injury lawyers at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP have helped recover millions of dollars for accident victims. We specialize in personal injury law and car accident cases and will review the facts and circumstances of your accident and injuries at no cost to let you know if you may receive compensation.

Charles S. Pappas
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Massachusetts Personal Injury & Workers' Compensation Attorney
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