Every year, families and friends in California and across the United States gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving, commemorating togetherness, gratitude and the start of the winter holiday season. At the same time, however, Thanksgiving is also accompanied annually by a spiking death rate across the country. It remains elevated throughout the winter before decreasing again in the spring.
To some extent, this can be attributed to the seasons, including annual flu infections and contagious diseases and the deaths of people exposed to severely cold weather. However, there are two causes of death more directly linked to the holiday: heart attacks and car accidents. Heart attacks can be linked to increased consumption of greasy and salty food, high levels of alcohol consumption or psychological and emotional strain due to family issues over the holidays.
Car accidents, however, draw to light the fact that Thanksgiving can be a dangerous time to drive. In 2012, there were 764 fatal crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday and nearly 50,000 non-fatal car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 40 percent of passengers killed lost their lives in crashes related to drunk driving, often after a holiday celebration or a football party.
Winter storms can also make the roadways more dangerous, especially when snow or freezing rain falls as families drive home in the dark after dinner. Because Thanksgiving is such an active family holiday, there can be more cars on the road on popular routes.
Drunk drivers and other hazards can cause havoc on the roads on Thanksgiving or any time of year. People who have been injured in a car crash caused by the negligence of another motorist might want to consult with a personal injury lawyer about seeking compensation for the losses that they have incurred.