November 20, 2008
Worst car crash day next Wednesday
The worst day for car crashes in Alabama was the day before Thanksgiving, three times greater than on Thanksgiving itself, a University of Alabama study found.
The study, looking at 2007 statistics, said two factors likely contributed to the 585 Alabama crashes the day before Thanksgiving, compared with the 196 on the holiday itself.
First, fewer people took off from work earlier in the week, so the roads were more crowded. Significantly fewer crashes were reported Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, the study by the university's CARE Research & Development Laboratory reported.
Secondly, Alabama roads were wet from rain the day before Thanksgiving, with almost 50 percent of reported crashes occurring in rainy weather.
Most crashes that Wednesday occurred in the early afternoon and evening, with 50 percent occurring between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., the study found.
This is definitely a time to be avoided on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, especially if bad weather is a possibility, laboratory Director Allen Parrish said.
The safest day of the week to be on the road is Thanksgiving itself, since most road travelers have already reached their destinations, the study found.
The actual holiday had about one-third of Wednesday's crashes.
Since people spread their post-Thanksgiving return over the long weekend, no return day stands out as being as dangerous as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the researchers said.