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Which holiday is the deadliest traffic day?

Memorial Day, Labor Day, 4th of July ... when is it safest to be on the roads?

Every year, millions of Americans mark holiday weekends with a time-honored tradition: the road trip.

Unfortunately, since 2012, an average of 37,076 people have lost their lives on US roads each year, and that number has shot up in recent years. Coming out of the pandemic, deaths in the US jumped from 39,007 in 2020 to 42,939 in 2021 and 42,514 in 2022.

But which holiday is the deadliest traffic day?

Deadliest holidays in the US

Since 2012, Labor Day has been the worst holiday weekend for fatalities on US roads, with a total of 5,656 people losing their lives at an average of 514 per year.

Memorial Day is the second most dangerous holiday weekend, with 5,347 lives lost over the last decade (486 per year). Closely followed by Columbus Day at 5,339 (485 per year).

Independence Day and Memorial Day are the deadliest days on US roads

Since Labor Day falls on the first Monday in September, the fatality data looks at it as a four-day weekend: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. So while Labor Day may be the deadliest weekend in terms of total fatalities, it’s tied with Independence Day as having the most fatalities on average, at 129 per day for each holiday weekend. Father’s Day is the third worst weekend on average, with 127 fatalities.

Where is it most dangerous to drive during the holidays?

Let’s take a look at the top five most dangerous holidays and where you’re most likely to be involved in a fatal accident.

Labor Day: Most dangerous states

With an average of 49 fatalities each year, California and Texas are the most dangerous places to drive, followed by Texas (48) and Florida (37).

Memorial Day: Most dangerous states

Texas is the most dangerous to be on the roads for Memorial Day, with an average of 52 fatalities each year, with California a ways behind at 43, followed by Florida at 39.

Columbus Day: Most dangerous states

California is the most deadly state on Columbus Day, with an average of 49 people dying each year, followed by Teaxas (48) and Florida the third deadliest state at 37.

Thanksgiving Day: Most dangerous states

For Thanksgiving, California is the most dangerous place to drive, with an average of 48 fatalities each year. Next up is Texas at 47, followed by Florida (39).

Father’s Day: Most dangerous states

Once more, Texas is the most dangerous state, with an average of 41 people dying over Father’s Day weekend, followed by California (38) and Florida (26).

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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Holly Jennings as part of our fact-checking process.
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Senior editorial manager

Richard Laycock is Finder’s NYC-based senior content marketing manager & insights editor, spending the last decade data diving, writing and editing articles about all things personal finance. His musings can be found across the web including on NASDAQ, MoneyMag, Yahoo Finance and Travel Weekly. Richard studied Media at Macquarie University, including a semester abroad at The Missouri School of Journalism (MIZZOU). See full bio

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