Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the company of family, friends and loved ones over a delicious home-cooked meal. Unfortunately for the 55 million Americans who will be traveling over 50 for the holiday, however, it is also one of the most dangerous days to be on the road. While traffic worsens throughout the nation over the week of Thanksgiving, Las Vegas will be especially crowded; according to the AAA, the city is set to be the fourth most popular Thanksgiving travel destination in the country in 2019.
On top of that, Thanksgiving already ranks as the deadliest holiday on U.S. roads. Alcohol is a major contributing factor to this rank, with the U.S. Department of Transportation reporting that over 800 people died in alcohol impaired driving accidents during the Thanksgiving period from 2012-2016 (the period starts at 6 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and ends at 6 a.m. the following Monday). Passengers not wearing seat belts is another leading factor in fatal Thanksgiving crashes.
To make matters worse, severe winter weather is anticipated to make traveling even more hazardous this year, with a holiday storm expected to bring rain and several inches of mountain snow to Nevada. Snow can be challenging to navigate even for experienced drivers, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), which explains why 17% of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions.
Starting on Nov. 27, the Nevada and California Highway Patrols will join forces targeting dangerous drivers on the Interstate 15 corridor connecting Las Vegas and California. The agencies plan to focus their safety efforts on speed infractions, distracted driving violations and compliance to the move over law, which dictates drivers must move over to allow emergency vehicles with flashing lights to pass them safely.
Following common sense road safety tips on Thanksgiving can reduce your chances of getting into a preventable car accident. Leave early so you can drive slower in winter conditions, do not drive drunk or allow someone else to and wear your seat belt every time you’re in a car. By making smart driving choices, you help make roads less hazardous for everyone on the road this Thanksgiving.
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.