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  • “It’s the Most Accident-Prone Time of the Year.” 🎵

“It’s the Most Accident-Prone Time of the Year.” 🎵

“It’s the Most Accident-Prone Time of the Year.” 🎵

 

Another seasonal classic also had it right: “From Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the traffic is terrific.” And all across Michigan, from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan the roads will definitely soon be terrifically clogged by cars filled with folks heading home for the holidays.

This Thanksgiving Week is certainly one to be thankful for as we gather together with friends and loved ones to enjoy the Detroit Thanksgiving parade (considered one of America’s best parades!), participate in traditional family festivities, and — maybe, just maybe — see the Lions win their first game of the year. We’ll keep all our fingers and toes crossed (but remain cautiously realistic)!

But before that can happen, we all need to get to where we’re going for the holiday. And that’s the biggest problem with Thanksgiving. All that travel compressed into a day or two on the state’s highways and byways almost always results in traffic troubles — and sometimes fender benders (or even more serious accidents) none of us were expecting.

However, there is a bit of good news. AAA reports that fuel prices are finally appearing to stabilize, though we’re all paying nearly $1.50 more per gallon this year than we did last November. That’s partly because, due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, gas prices a year ago had reached their lowest levels since early 2016 (you may remember newspaper articles at the time reporting that Governor Whitmer had declared “Thanksgiving is basically cancelled.”). Happily that’s not the case this year, though we are paying more at the pump due to increased demand by drivers, lower U.S. oil production, and a global energy crunch.

But the unfortunate news is that,  with travel restrictions lifted, AAA also predicts this year’s holiday traffic will far surpass what we experienced last year. And with more people on the road, we’re likely to see a return to the traffic jams and unfortunate mishaps that always seem to accompany Thanksgiving Weekend. In fact, fatal accidents typically rise around 10 percent on the holidays, and Thanksgiving ranks among the top 10 holidays every year for traffic fatalities.

Beyond higher traffic counts, another dangerous factor plays into the holiday highway hazards we all face at this time of year: drunk driving.

Recent data confirms that Michigan has been one of the states with the highest number of alcohol-related deaths on Thanksgiving,  a sobering statistic indeed (interestingly, the Michigan city with the most drunk-driving deaths on Thanksgiving that year was Grand Rapids). And the risks associated with driving under the influence isn’t limited to the folks riding in the car. If you host a holiday party where underage individuals consume alcohol, you could be held liable in court under Michigan’s social host law for any damages or injuries they cause.

Of course, drunk drivers are also subject to severe penalties themselves, starting with mandatory six-month suspensions of driving privileges (even for a first offense), required participation in rehab programs, and, as you might expect, significant jail time (up to 15 years if you kill someone, or 20 years if the victim is a first responder). The Secretary of State’s office provides details on penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Another post-Thanksgiving hazard to consider is, of course, those frantic Black Friday shoppers. Though it hasn’t happened here recently, we’ve all seen the reports of innocent people getting injured in the frenzy of holiday shopping discount fever.  So, try not to get trampled at the doors of your local big box store this year! For more shopping-related horror stories, you might want to check out this article for guidance that could help you avoid some traditional shopping danger zones both in Michigan and across the country. And, of course, if you or a loved one are ever hurt because of an in-store shopper stampede or other negligent behavior, we can help. We know all the ins and outs of filing lawsuits on behalf of people injured on someone else’s property.

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays — So Please Get There Safely.

All this goes to say that we hope you’ll make proper efforts to stay safe and sound for this year’s Thanksgiving festivities, whether you’re in the car or at the mall. But if someone’s negligent or thoughtless actions do cause you to become injured, rest assured we’ll be there for you. Give us a call 24/7 at 855-MIKE-WINS, and you’ll give thanks that you knew our number. Or, if you’d rather contact us by text, we’re available anytime at 833-898-MIKE (833-898-6453), and we can always be reached online right here. From all of us at the Mike Morse Law Firm, please enjoy a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving!