Car accidents are a fact of life in the Chicago area but USA Today reports that Thanksgiving Week is one of the most deadly traveling periods of the year. The auto club AAA says that 90 percent of families will travel to their Thanksgiving destinations by car, and many of these trips result in a collision.
“Whenever traffic volume goes up, crashes generally go up as well,” said one traffic safety expert. “This isn’t really rocket science here: You have a lot of people on the roads over Thanksgiving, so the crashes are naturally going to get worse.”
In addition to more cars on the road, people traveling unfamiliar roads at night and drunk driving are also contributing factors to Thanksgiving crashes. Individuals visiting family members in more rural parts of Illinois also experience more deer and weather related car accidents than individuals who remain at home.
A study from the Highway Loss Data Institute found that Thanksgiving is one of four federal holidays which sees higher-than-normal car accident rates. The other holidays are New Years’ Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.
One firm that tracks traffic congestion across the country says that this year’s Thanksgiving travel week may be safer because people are driving less. So far, traffic is 25 percent lower this year than last year, but the AAA expects long-distance Thanksgiving trips to increase slightly.