Deadliest cities to drive in during Thanksgiving weekend

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


Fact checked
Driving around with a cooked turkey on top of the car

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.

RankCityStateNumber of deaths

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.

RankStateNumber of deaths
4North Carolina20

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.

RankCityStateNumber of drunk-driving deaths
1CharlestonSouth Carolina2

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.

RankStateNumber of drunk-driving deaths
2South Carolina6

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 dayDeaths% of total deaths

How many of these deaths were alcohol-related in 2017?

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 dayDrunk-driving deaths% of total deaths

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:

Allan Givens headshot

Allan Givens
Public Relations Manager

Nicole Gallina headshot

Nicole Gallina
Communications Coordinator

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site