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Deadly Thanksgiving weekend car accidents have doubled in Michigan

November 23, 2016 by Steven M. Gursten

This “blackout Wednesday” kicks off a deadly season for drunk driving – but here’s how to help prevent auto accidents this Thanksgiving holiday


Until I became an auto accident attorney, I’d never heard of “Blackout Wednesday.” I’m not sure if that means it didn’t exist when I was younger and still in school, or if I was with the crowd that studied too much and I was just oblivious to it. But I’m not oblivious to it anymore.

Today marks another “Blackout Wednesday,” the night before Thanksgiving in Michigan where college kids come home for the holiday and party with all of their friends. This evening, “the biggest bar night of the year,” as it’s dubbed by students, also kicks of the deadly season for drunk driving-caused car accidents… Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and New Year’s are a deadly trifecta for motor vehicle deaths.

The holidays are a time for family, friends, celebrating, and for giving thanks. But as an auto accident attorney, I’m often reminded of the tragedy that accompanies the holidays, starting with Thanksgiving. This is the most dangerous time of the year for college-age and high school binge drinking, drunk driving and alcohol-related fatalities and car accidents.

According to the Michigan State Police, these problems are again expected to spike this Thanksgiving weekend. I don’t mean to take the fun out of Thanksgiving, but it’s also important to remind ourselves and our loved ones that Thanksgiving weekend is the deadliest time of the year for car accidents (statistically, the Thanksgiving weekend has the second-highest number of fatal automobile accidents after Labor Day weekend).

Last year on Thanksgiving weekend, set from 6 p.m. on November 25 to 11:59 p.m. on November 29, there were a total of 11 fatal car accidents —  up nearly 50% from the 6 fatalities in 2014.

The average number of car accident fatalities in Michigan on Thanksgiving weekend is 19, second to Labor Day weekend with 20. This is according to a tally from 1972 to 2015 from the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Facts.

You can see the number of fatalities for each holiday in the graphic below, provided by the Michigan State Police.


Here are some past blog posts I’ve written on keeping yourself safe on Blackout Wednesdayand Thanksgiving weekend (hint: Call and Uber or designate a driver… or just stay in and relax by the fire!).

Uber surge pricing on Thanksgiving is still cheaper than a DUI

17 driving tips to prevent car accidents on Thanksgiving weekend

Be careful on the night before Thanksgiving

Please stay safe this weekend, everyone.

Related info:

8 Thanksgiving safety tips with help from William Shatner: How to prepare dinner safely and prevent fire from the turkey fryer

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