Holidays are generally unusually dangerous times to drive on California roads and Thanksgiving is historically one of the worst. More fatal traffic accidents happen during that holiday than any other day of the year.
This Thanksgiving was even more deadly than ever, with California Highway Patrol officers reporting a 47 percent increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents over the 2011 holiday. Between Wednesday night and the Sunday after Thanksgiving, CHP officers reported that 31 people died in crashes.
The high number of Thanksgiving crashes might translate to more accidents throughout the holiday season. Many of the factors that make Thanksgiving a dangerous time for driving will still exist during the winter holidays. Millions of Americans travel to visit family and loved ones for Christmas and New Years - according to AAA, most of them travel by car.
Many of these drivers will be traveling on unfamiliar roads, potentially in bad weather conditions. Busy schedules packed with errands often mean that drivers are speeding too fast without enough sleep. Alcohol also plays a role when people reunite to celebrate and relax. All of these factors dramatically raise the risk of fatal accidents.
Source: Mercury News, "Holiday road fatalities up 47 percent in California," Joshua Melvin, Nov. 26, 2012