Over the River and Through the Woods – Safely, Please! Car Accidents AttorneyDeath Rates in the United States Jump On Thanksgiving
As a car accidents attorney in Arizona, my research shows that Thanksgiving is one of our nation’s happiest holidays, but it might also be our country’s deadliest.
According to Forbes.com,(1) doctors know the overall mortality rate in the United States climbs sharply each year around Thanksgiving, and remains high through the winter. It could be due to the changing seasons with colder weather and the yearly wave of the flu, colds, and other sicknesses. But Thanksgiving is an unusually dangerous day, with two main culprits: car crashes and heart problems. Both are preventable most of the time.
Dangerous Time To Drive
Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns drivers to stay safe on Thanksgiving, and rightfully so – no holiday leads to more deadly crashes.
According to the most recent data available from the National Safety Council, there were 428 fatal crashes on Thanksgiving in 2016. In comparison, that year there were 307 fatal crashes on Christmas Day, 273 on New Year’s Day, 379 on Labor Day, 389 on Memorial Day and 397 on Independence Day. There were also nearly 50,000 non-fatal car accidents that Thanksgiving holiday.
In too many cases, simple safety precautions would have saved lives. According to NHTSA, at least 40% of passengers killed last Thanksgiving were involved in crashes with drunk drivers, and about 60% of passengers were not wearing safety belts.
Additionally, according to AAA, 67% of all fatal crashes happen in rural areas, in part because people are less likely to wear their seat belts there. People also die in rural areas because it can take a long time for help to arrive after a crash.
Your Heart is Also in Danger
Doctors have also reported a rise in heart attacks around the winter holidays. That rise is not just weather-related, as some Americans shovel snow or suffer cold weather illnesses. Even in warm places, such as southern California, researchers found a sharp increase in the 1980s and 1990s of about 33% more deaths due to coronary disease in the winter than in the summer. That spike began annually around Thanksgiving.
The increased risk of heart attacks starting on Thanksgiving “could be related to such behavioral changes around the holiday time as increased food, salt, and alcohol consumption,” Robert A. Kloner, M.D., Ph.D, and his colleagues suggested in their influential 1999 article in the medical journal, Circulation.(2) “The emotional and psychological stresses of the holidays might also contribute.”
Perhaps the rush to be with your family on Thanksgiving and your family’s holiday customs may aggravate underlying problems. You may forget your medication when you travel, you may eat too much of the wrong stuff, and then play too much football in the yard.
Have a Happy, Safe Thanksgiving
Don’t speed. Take your time, wear your seat belt, get plenty of rest, and make sure your vehicle is ready before you hit the holiday roads. Never, ever drink and drive. Don’t over-eat, eat good food, and don’t overdo it. Enjoy your family and friends. And remember, we have more holidays to survive this season!
If you need help, call us at (480) 833-1113.
(1) Diamond, D, The U.S. Death Rate Spikes On Thanksgiving. Here’s Why, www.forbes.com (November 26, 2014).
(2) Kloner RA, Poole WK, Perritt RL. When throughout the year is coronary death most likely to occur? A 12-year population-based analysis of more than 220 000 cases, Circulation, Vol. 100 at 1630 –1634 (1999). Dr. Kloner is also the author of The “Merry Christmas Coronary” and “Happy New Year Heart Attack” Phenomenon. Circulation, Vol. 110 at 3744-3745 (2004).