‘Tis the Season for Drinking and Driving? Thanksgiving Holiday May Pose Dangers on Maryland Roadways

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, but the holiday weekend will continue for several days. As Maryland personal injury lawyers, we feel it is important to advise caution when venturing out onto the state’s highways and surface streets during the coming holiday. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), 42.5 million motorists nationwide will be hitting the roads this holiday weekend.

Here in Maryland, experts estimate that nearly 90 percent of residents will at one time or another be driving during the coming days — 800,000 people traveling to destinations all across the state. With this in mind, it is essential to remember that Thanksgiving has in many parts of the country become known more as drinking holiday than for the traditional family gatherings of the post.

As Maryland auto and trucking accident attorneys, I and my staff know that roadway collisions can and do happen everyday. While crashes of any kind are quite common, motor vehicle wrecks involving alcohol can make up more than 30 percent of all fatal incidents. Driving during this coming holiday weekend should be undertaken with caution and eyes wide open.

Although gasoline prices are more than 15 percent higher than a year ago this time, traveling by car is still one of the more cost-effective modes, especially when going relatively short distances of 100 miles or so. The gradual rise in fuel prices is not likely to limit the number of cars, trucks or even motorcycles on the road this weekend.

Safety when driving is an important consideration when noting the increased number of cars on the road when compared to other traveling-related holidays. According to the AAA, Thanksgiving holiday traffic represents is the first significant increase in vehicular traffic of the entire year to date. Based on news reports, Memorial Day travel was, one the whole, unchanged from previous years, while the July Fourth and Labor Day holidays saw slight decreases in travel.

Even though the warm weather months are behind us, drinking and driving will continue to be an issue, especially because of a trend that police agencies across the nation have seen over the past few years. According to news articles, state police officers in states like New Jersey expect to be busy during the entire weekend as the Thanksgiving Day holiday tends to encourage increases in drinking at bars and other establishments serving alcohol.

With the Thanksgiving holiday already upon us and the Christmas/New Years holidays just around the corner, traffic accidents involving passenger cars, minivans and SUVs may be on the rise due to increased likelihood of drunken driving. Trucking wrecks, though not necessarily affected by seasonal imbibing, may also see and increase, if only slightly. However, it should be noted that a trucker can be involved in a traffic accident due to a negligent passenger car driver just as well as the other way around.

Any crash can lead to serious injury — especially at higher speeds or when vehicles of disparate mass are involved — resulting in injuries such as broken bones, deep lacerations and severe blood loss, traumatic brain injury and internal injuries. Needless to say, buckle up and please drive safely.

Thanksgiving travel by car to increase this year, DelmarvaNow.com, November 23, 2011
Night before Thanksgiving has become a big night for clubs … and State Police, PressofAtlanticCity.com, November 22, 2011

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