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“Blackout Wednesday” and Holiday Drunk Driving

Rates of Alcohol-Involved Crashes Increase During the Holidays

Arguably the most highly-anticipated time of the year is the holiday season. Getting to catch up with old friends, decorating your home from top to bottom with festive items, and spending more time with loved ones makes this a very cherished time. However, the holiday season is also known for having increased rates of drunk driving crashes.

What Makes the Holidays a Hot Spot for Drunk Driving?

The holidays are a time when people are more likely to drink alcohol. There are many parties and social gatherings where alcohol is served, and people may be more likely to drink because they are celebrating or being more social. The holidays can also be a stressful time for some people, and they may turn to drinking as a way to cope.

Increased travel time during the holidays is common, and people may be driving to visit family, friends, or are on the road for business trips. This added travel can make it more likely to encounter drunk drivers on the road. However, there are also factors unique to each holiday that may increase risks of these incidents.

“Blackout Wednesday” and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Eve has been referred to in the media and colloquially as “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving” for decades due to the high volume and expectation of alcohol consumption on this night. College students return to their hometowns to see old friends and family members and may celebrate the end of the semester at a bar; on the other hand, distant relatives may come together at a family home to reunite and have drinks over dinner. Both of these scenarios may lead to significantly higher alcohol consumption than normal.

Thanksgiving Eve is also one of the busiest travel days during the year, putting more people in harm’s way; as a result, the night before Thanksgiving has consistently been one of the deadliest days on US roads. According to the National Safety Council, about 29 percent of traffic fatalities during this holiday period involve drunk drivers.


There are several risk factors during Christmas time that may make crashes overall more likely, especially those involving drunk drivers – one of which being the influence of inclement weather conditions. These may lead to an exacerbated loss of coordination and control when behind the wheel, as well as visibility issues. When inexperienced drivers are on snowy or icy road conditions after a night of drinking, it is likely to result in disaster.

Holiday stress is also an added risk factor that may cause some individuals to turn to drink. According to a study done by the American Psychological Association, 61 percent of people reported feeling stress “often or sometimes” during the season. Christmas shopping, preparing large holiday meals, and family gatherings can be overwhelming for some, and they may choose to unwind by consuming more alcohol than typical.

Ultimately, about 38 percent of Christmas period traffic fatalities in 2019 involved a drunk driver.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is traditionally a night of heavy drinking and partying. People may make resolutions to drink less alcohol in the new year, but many overindulge on this night. This can lead to a higher number of drunk drivers on the road, as well as more pedestrians out celebrating who are at risk of being hit by a vehicle. The NSC reports that 36 percent of traffic fatalities during the New Year’s period in 2019 were caused by drunk drivers.

Salt Lake City Drunk Driving Attorneys

Drunk driving is 100% preventable, and our Salt Lake CIty attorneys can help you seek justice following a collision with a drunk driver. If you need legal assistance after being injured in one of these incidents, call (801) 999-1506 to schedule a free consultation.