Between 1998 and 2008 there was an average of 572 deaths annually on U.S. highways during the Thanksgiving holiday, making it the most deadly four-day holiday period on American roads. Fewer of the drivers were alcohol-impaired, however; only 36%, compared with Independence Day’s 41%. The statistics are skewed because of the high number of cars on the road and the unusual distances driven to share the holiday joy. The National Safety Commission blames speeding and tired and/or sleepy drivers, as well as those who have imbibed, for the high number of deaths.
According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, those at most risk of driving while drowsy are…
-Young adults 18-29
-Men (56%) more than women (45%)
It cites another study that determined that being awake for 18 hours produces an impairment equal to a blood alcohol level of .05 (.08 is legally drunk in most states). This goes up to .10 after a full day without sleep.
To get a rough idea of how many drinks will put you above the legal limit, check out this calculator. However, studies have shown that even one drink impairs driving ability a bit, so think ‘designated driver’ for this year’s festivities.