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7 ways to play it safe on the roads during Thanksgiving weekend

Whether you call it Blackout Wednesday or Drunksgiving, there's ample evidence that the night before Thanksgiving is now one of the top party nights of the year.

In fact, Blackout Wednesday is a bigger day for drinks and bars than either New Year's Eve or St. Patrick's Day, depending on your location.

That means that it's also one of the most dangerous times to be out and anywhere near a road. If you are traveling the night before Thanksgiving or early Thanksgiving morning, take some extra precautions:

  1. Try to leave no earlier than three or four in the morning for your destination if you're heading out on Thanksgiving. Bars usually close at two in the morning, so that gives most of the folks who hung in for "last call" time to get off the roads.
  2. Realize that the odds are very good, if you are out Wednesday night doing last minute grocery shopping or traveling, that someone on the road with you is driving while intoxicated. If you're on the road on Thanksgiving, the odds are good someone is driving hungover.
  3. Highway fatalities related to drunk driving jump by nine percent during the Thanksgiving weekend compared to the rest of the year's average.
  4. Try to keep to main highways -- it's not unusual for drunk drivers to try to make their way home though back roads and shortcuts, hoping to avoid police (and other people).
  5. Be extremely cautious about antagonizing other drivers. Alcohol can fuel road rage -- which you certainly don't want with your family in the car.
  6. Give other drivers plenty of extra room. Even if you're in a hurry, hang back. That "slow" driver may be trying to cover for the fact that he or she is still drunk.
  7. Stay off the sidewalks as well. It's a great day to stay in and watch the Macy's parade instead! Pedestrians are always at risk of not being seen by inattentive drivers. The risk of being hurt by a driver who is still drunk or hungover is high, especially if you have to cross streets somewhere along your path.

Despite your best precautions, you may still end up in an accident this Thanksgiving weekend. If so, keep in mind that it's always wise to seek legal guidance if you've been hurt in a drunk driving accident before you agree to any settlement from the other side's insurance company.

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