Thanksgiving is almost here again, and while you’re prepping a bird for the oven, many early-bird shoppers are gearing up for that bustling retail holiday, Black Friday. But what many people don’t realize is that there is another unspoken (but still widely celebrated) holiday known as Black Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving Day. Widely regarded as the most popular bar night of the year, Thanksgiving Eve sees a major increase in public drinking—and drunk driving crashes—every year.

Drunk Driving Crashes Likely to Increase on Thanksgiving Eve

While drunk driving wrecks can happen in any New Jersey city on Black Wednesday, there are a number of factors that can increase your risk of being involved in a crash. For example, you may want to take extra precaution if you:

  • Live in (or near) a college town. Most colleges and universities release students on Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Some students begin the drive home early, but many others celebrate the vacation (and the end of their exams) by going out for drinks.
  • Are visiting relatives. One way to avoid bar traffic in your own city is to go out of town a day early to meet up with your relatives. However, many people arrive in their hometown greeted by family and friends they have not seen in years and decide to go out for drinks.
  • See specials on the menu. Since many people are reluctant to cook on the day before they prepare a large Thanksgiving meal, they go out to a restaurant on Wednesday evening. Even smaller restaurants may serve alcohol, so if you see drink specials on the menu, it could be a clue that drunk drivers will be out a few hours later.
  • Are on vacation. Many American workers enjoy a long Thanksgiving weekend off, starting with quitting time on Wednesday. Just like the college students, employees often can’t resist the temptation to hit the bar or have a few beers with friends to celebrate before they go out of town (or prepare to host relatives in their home).

How to Protect Yourself from Thanksgiving Drunk Driving Accidents

A little preparation and awareness can go a long way toward preventing an accident. Offer to have your friends over at your house instead of going out (chances are you already cleaned up for guests anyway). If you go out on Wednesday night, be extra careful on the roads, and offer to take your over-indulgent friends home. Put the numbers of a few different cab companies in your phone before you leave, just in case you have too much to drink yourself. You can also keep your loved ones safe by sharing these tips on Facebook to let them know of potential crash dangers before the holidays.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer