Patrick Hoye chief of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says the congestion increases the risk for crashes. “Because it’s an extended holiday, that heavy traffic is over several days and higher traffic counts often equates to more crashes,” Hoye says.
Over the past decade in Iowa, the state’s Department of Transportation reports the Thanksgiving weekend has produced 25% more fatal crashes than any other holiday weekend. The night before Thanksgiving is a particularly dangerous time because of alcohol-impaired drivers.
“It’s a national trend, they’ve actually come up with a phrase for it – it’s called ‘blackout Wednesday,'” Hoye says. “The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the highest alcohol consumption days of the year. Unfortunately, that’s an issue when people are drinking heavily and then are traveling.”
Last year in Iowa, five people were killed in traffic crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday period – which runs this (Wednesday) evening through Monday morning.