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Posted on 11-20-2016

Thanksgiving - The Deadliest Day On The Road

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends the majority of my time in my clinic treating Baltimore auto accident patients with headaches, neck pain, and back pain, I spend more than a fair amount of time keeping up to date on all things Baltimore auto accidents. I am intrigued by what causes crashes, how people become injured in these crashes, and how to best help these injured individuals recover from their auto accident injuries.

If you are like me, you plan to hit the road Wednesday night to head home and stay with family before Thanksgiving on Thursday. While the holiday is one of my favorite, the grid lock and increased auto accidents that it causes are not my favorite. Did you know that Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. is the number one day for auto accidents and deaths from auto accidents each year?

As you might imagine there are a number of reasons why Thanksgiving is considered to be the deadliest day on the road. Here are some of the reasons:

1. A general increase in alcohol consumption on the evening before Thanksgiving. Since very few people have to work the next day, many people have "a few extra" adult beverages in an effort to socialize and relax. If they get behind the wheel they increase the odds of harming themselves or someone else.

2. The number of cars on the roads increases. I will personally be traveling about 250 miles to go to New York to see my family. There is about a 50 percent increase in the number of cars traveling more than 50 miles throughout Thanksgiving weekend compared to "normal" weekends. These long drives can be tiresome for drivers, so both a combination of increased cars on the roads and increased drowsiness is responsible for more crashes.

3. Increase darkness. As mentioned in a previous blog post, it is darker now when most people finish work and start driving home due to the end of daylight savings time. The decreased visibility makes it hard for us to see as we do in daylight, causing an increase in the likelihood of crashing.

Despite the numerous reasons why it is more likely that any of us will be injured or killed in a Baltimore auto accident on Thanksgiving and the days following, there are several straightforward and practical tips in order to have a safer ride and higher likelihood of surviving the weekend without being killed or injured in a Baltimore auto accident:

1. Check your tires - Even healthy tires lose air over time. Take 15 minutes to check tread and air pressure before departure. And remember to always check the air pressure of your tires when they are "cold", generally before driving more than 2-3 miles on them.

2. Tune up - If you have been putting off that oil change, or topping off your fluids, now is the time to do it. There's no worse time to be pulled over on a highway with a broken down vehicle then on a major holiday when support will become more sparse.

3. Follow the speed limit - Since there will be more cars on the road, it is imperative to travel at the speed limit.

4. Wear your seat belts - Don't forget to buckle up. Engaging the proper restraints in your vehicle will make the ride safer for you and all of your occupants. Plus, its the law.

5. Minimize distracted driving - Make sure your cell phone is connected by blue tooth (if your car has it enabled) If not, designate a passenger to be a caller/texter/snapchatter on your behalf. The only job the driver should have is keeping their hands and 10 and 2 and obeying the rules of the road.

6. Get a good night's sleep the night before. We all get anxious before the holidays given the long drives and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. If you can get a nap in before you drive to help you stay more alert, or if you can get more sleep the night before, or better yet, if you can leave really early the day of Thanksgiving just after waking up you will be more able to focus on the ever changing road conditions and thus decrease your likelihood of a crash.

We all have to do our part to make the roads safe on Thanksgiving so that we can enjoy our time with our family without injuring ourselves and each other. If you, or someone you know, is unfortunately injured in a Baltimore auto accident on Thanksgiving, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic. We would be happy to help you recover from your injuries!

Happy Thanksgiving from Dr. Gulitz and the entire team at Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic!

Dr. Gulitz

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