Deadliest cities to drive in over Thanksgiving weekend

Two US cities tie for most fatalities behind the wheel over the extended holiday.

Thanksgiving weekend is a time to be with family, stuff our faces and add a couple of notches to our belts. It’s also the most dangerous weekend of the year to get behind the wheel, with an average 328 deaths annually, according to analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data collected between 2011 and 2017, finding not only that Thanksgiving is the deadliest weekend on the roads, but also that driving fatalities peaked in 2017 at 381 deaths.

Thanksgiving leads the Fourth of July, the second-deadliest weekend on the road at an average 318 deaths each year. Thanksgiving is also slightly ahead of Memorial Day weekend, which averages 305 deaths.

Which cities were deadliest for driving on Thanksgiving Day weekend in 2017?

Napa, California, and Newcastle, Utah, tie for the most dangerous city to drive in over the long Thanksgiving weekend, each with four fatalities. They are closely followed by 10 other cities, each with three deaths.

Rank City State Number of deaths
1 Napa California 4
1 Newcastle Utah 4
2 Phoenix Arizona 3
2 Jacksonville Florida 3
2 Miami Florida 3
2 Lawrenceville Georgia 3
2 Chicago Illinois 3
2 Sabetha Kansas 3
2 Rudolph Ohio 3
2 Thurman Ohio 3
2 Houston Texas 3
2 Pecos Texas 3

Which states were deadliest for Thanksgiving Day weekend in 2017?

Claiming the top 12 deadliest cities to drive in during the Thanksgiving weekend, California also takes most dangerous state at 51 deaths, followed by Texas at 42 deaths.

Rank State Number of deaths
1 California 51
2 Texas 42
3 Florida 34
4 North Carolina 20
5 Ohio 18

Which city had the most drunk-driving deaths in 2017?

Overindulgence isn’t exclusive to food on Thanksgiving. A consequence of indulgence is the 26% of all Thanksgiving road fatalities attributable to drunk drivers. Of all of the drunk driving fatalities in 2017, Talladega, Alabama; Croton, Michigan; Charleston, South Carolina; and Odessa, Texas, took No. 1 with two deaths due to drunk driving.

Rank City State Number of drunk-driving deaths
1 Talladega Alabama 2
1 Croton Michigan 2
1 Charleston South Carolina 2
1 Odessa Texas 2

Which state had the most drunk-driving deaths in 2017?

When it comes to drunk drivers, California and Texas top the list at 12 alcohol-related road fatalities each in 2017. These two states alone made up 24% of Thanksgiving drunk driving deaths for the year.

Two other southern states round out the top six, with six drunk driving deaths in South Carolina and five in Alabama.

Rank State Number of drunk-driving deaths
1 California 12
1 Texas 12
2 South Carolina 6
3 Alabama 5
3 Illinois 5
3 Ohio 5

How does Thanksgiving driving compare to a typical weekday?

Turkey Day leads all other holidays not only in terms of fatal accidents, but also in terms of distractions. According to a TrueMotion study on driving while distracted, texting and app use skyrockets a staggering 50% on Thanksgiving when compared with your typical weekday.

TrueMotion found that speeding also increases by an average 45% during the holiday, compared to a normal weekday.

What time of day was deadliest for driving on Thanksgiving weekend in 2017?

If you’re driving over Thanksgiving weekend, you might want to do so earlier in the day. Only 20% of fatal accidents occur between the hours of 5 a.m. and noon. Compare that time to driving at night (between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.) and afternoon to evening (between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.), which accounts for 40% of road deaths each.

Time of day Deaths % of total deaths
Morning 75 20%
Afternoon/evening 153 40%
Night 153 40%

It may not surprise you that 58% of all drunk-driving deaths occur at night. Drunk-driving deaths are six times more likely to occur between the hours of 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. than in the morning.

Time of day Drunk-driving deaths % of total deaths
Morning 11 11%
Afternoon/Evening 31 31%
Night 57 58%

Don’t be a turkey. Compare your car insurance options.

While car insurance can’t stop you from getting into an accident over Thanksgiving weekend, it can protect you from the financial consequences. Make sure you’ve got the right level of coverage by comparing your car insurance options.

For media inquiries:

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Nicole Gallina
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