Millions of people practically live for the holiday season, but approximately 550 Americans don’t make it to the next celebration. The lure of the bottle is just too strong for many, and before they know it they’re involved in a drunk driving accident–often with serious injuries or fatal results. Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving are the top drinking holidays. However, the biggest drinking night of the year actually occurs the night before Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Thanksgiving Eve or “Blackout Wednesday”. But why is this day of all days such a major drinking event and how big of a deal is it, really?
What’s Blackout Wednesday All About?
American Thanksgiving acts as the kickoff to the winter holiday season. Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday, so the celebration leads into a long weekend that often includes a school break, mini vacation from work, and travel. According to AAA, almost 49 million Americans are planning to travel at least 50 miles from home just for that one holiday. That’s a 1.9% increase, or over 1 million travelers, from last year. Nearly all Americans get Thanksgiving Day off, and the night before a holiday is generally considered free time for rest and respite.
As hordes of people rush home to reconnect, it’s commonplace, especially for young adults in college, to reach out to old friends and spend at least a few hours away from the doting relatives who bombard with overly personal questions every waking minute. A night on the town can do wonders for anyone’s peace of mind, and bars across the country clean up by offering special all-night deals and delights for partygoers or binge drinkers. Owners and operators of such establishments call the night before Thanksgiving “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving”, and in some of the bigger cities, it tops Saint Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve as the best party night of the year. After all, what’s a better hangover cure than a big meal? Well, that’s if you make it home anyway.
What’s the Big Deal About Celebrating Early?
There’s nothing wrong with letting loose every so often, but there is a problem with driving while intoxicated. Driving is still the primary mode of holiday transportation as 43.5 million Americans plan their car trip for this year’s gobble fest. But what no one expects is for their celebration to end before it even begins. Blackout Wednesday begins the celebration that wraps up with Black Friday and the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Avoiding stress, people, and a potentially dangerous situation is unavoidable with a nationwide population of almost 325,026,000. But you don’t have to be part of the problem.
Traffic fatalities from Blackout Wednesday through Black Friday average about 400 annually and non-fatal drinking-related accidents jump to around 50,000. That’s just during those days. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 40% of the fatalities were due to drunk drivers and 60% of fatalities were due to not wearing a seatbelt. Extra stress, speeding, not allowing for traffic or extra traveling time, and failing to perform basic maintenance prior to leaving home are common reasons why a driver either decided to stop for a drink or didn’t notice the swerving car barrelling towards him.
The fact is, there is never any reason to drive drunk. Your loved ones will much rather you show up late than not at all. But if you are involved in an accident due to your own or someone else’s negligence, don’t handle it yourself. Contact your Ann Arbor car accident attorney to see what can be done to salvage the holidays.