Drive safely and avoid car accidents this Thanksgiving

When Madison County residents travel to see their loved ones this holiday weekend, they should take extra care to drive responsibly. Thanksgiving week is one of the deadliest on U.S. roadways and it is important that drivers do what they can to curb this trend.

Millions of Americans travel for Thanksgiving, and about 90 percent of these travelers do so by car, according to AAA auto club. Unfortunately, many of these drivers in Illinois will be in unfamiliar territory, some of them on risky two-lane roads, and of course drowsiness and alcohol may affect some of them. On average, about 798 people die in car accidents during Thanksgiving week, according to data from 2005 to 2010.

Last year, 40 percent of fatal Thanksgiving crashes involved drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Speed and deer are also frequent factors in Thanksgiving week car accidents.

While the statistics do not look good, traffic authorities do think there may be fewer dangerous car accidents this year simply because there will be fewer travelers. A traffic congestion research firm is predicting less traffic due to unemployment rates, gas prices and other factors.

Illinois residents should keep these facts in mind this weekend and drive carefully. Of course, many less serious car accidents may also take place and even these can result in not only a missed Thanksgiving feast, but also painful injuries and numerous expenses. Those who do find themselves involved in a car accident this week may be wise to seek legal counsel in order to obtain compensation to lessen the resulting financial burden.

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