Holiday forecasters are calling the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the worst travel day in nearly a decade. A surge in long-distance travelers combined with the cultural phenomenon known as “Blackout Wednesday” could also make it one of the deadliest on our roads.
More than 800 people died in vehicle crashes on this day from 2013 through 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2018 alone, 133 people died in alcohol-related crashes from Wednesday at 6 p.m. to Monday morning at 5:59 a.m.
“Every single one of these drunk driving deaths was preventable. Every single one left an empty seat at the table and turned a time for families and tradition into a time of tragedy,” said MADD National President Helen Witty, whose 16-year-old daughter Helen Marie was killed by a drunk and drugged teen driver. “There is simply no excuse. There never has been. But we now have more options than ever for getting home safely – whether designating a non-drinking driver, using public transportation or calling a taxi or rideshare service like Uber.”
“Blackout Wednesday” – also known as Drinksgiving and Whiskey Wednesday, among other monikers – was coined earlier this decade to describe a spike in alcohol sales and an increase in the number of people heading out to reconnect with friends home for the holiday. It is a night when heavy drinking is highlighted – and even encouraged, according to NHTSA. As a result, drunk-driving-related crashes increase.
And “Blackout Wednesday” is just the start of the holiday season that sees an uptick in drunk driving deaths every year. That’s why MADD reminds everyone that drinking and driving don’t mix.
MADD encourages everyone to spread the word on Nov. 27 by using the hashtag #BoycottBlackoutWednesday. You can also show your support for MADD’s Tie One on For Safety campaign and remind everyone that drinking and driving don’t mix by displaying our iconic red ribbons on your vehicle throughout the holiday.
Find out how to contact your local MADD office for a red ribbon or download a virtual one at https://www.madd.org/the-solution/drunk-driving/tie-one-on-for-safety/.
“If you drink, don’t drive. If you drive, don’t drink. It’s that simple,” Witty said. “We want everyone to enjoy the coming holidays. We also want everyone to make it home for the holidays.”