It’s not long until Thanksgiving; a time for seeing family and friends, eating well, drinking well, sharing the experience and honoring our forefathers. But most important of all, it’s a time for football. Yes, arguably the most esteemed tradition in America is the staging of three full games of football over Thanksgiving weekend. Whether you’re a Cowboys, Lions, Chiefs, or Dolphins fan – or none of the above – you’re going to want to see the games.
However, with traffic at a peak during the Thanksgiving season, dangers on the road are always higher, and if you also take into account the busy football weekend, it can spell a potential death-trap on the roads. Here are 10 driving dangers posed by the Thanksgiving ball games.
10. Accidents at the Stadium
Drivers leaving the stadium have to deal with thousands of fans. With the natural delirium of a game meeting the cheerful atmosphere of the holiday, there’s a much higher chance of a party atmosphere outside the stadium, and people milling around. Add an SUV to the equation and it’s a potential death-trap.
9. Team Loss Road Rage
Passionate sports fans will know how easy it is to let a game result get under your skin, and seeing a rival fan celebrating can make the irritation even harder to take. However, there are always a small minority who let their anger go too far. Around 1,500 men, women and children are injured, or even killed, every year in the United States due to aggressive driving. The risk of casualties only increases on days when sports events are watched by impassioned fans who then take to the roads.
8. Driving Home With Friends
When you and your buddies are driving back from a football game, excitability can get the better of you (especially after a win). Even if the driver isn’t drunk, all it takes is one foolish move from a disorderly passenger to distract a driver and cause them to lose control of the vehicle. Statistics show that in-car distractions such as this cause a large number of road fatalities every year in the U.S.
7. Surprise at Hearing Game Results
Again, any big sports nut knows the ecstasy of a sudden result in your favor. If you happen to be alone and in the car on Thanksgiving, the radio is going to be your only way of following the game. Throw in a last-minute surprise, the sudden delirious pumping of fists and loud hooting, and it could cause a major accident if you don’t have your wits about you.
6. Traffic Leaving the Stadium
Any major public event will inevitably lead to an increase in traffic once it finishes. With 65,000 or so people leaving football stadiums in the space of less than 90 minutes, coupled with the Thanksgiving weekend being one of the busiest in the year, it’s no wonder that traffic leading back to residential areas can be problematic – and at times, dangerous.
5. Antagonizing a Rival Fan
Even if the driver is stone cold sober, when passions are high there’s often the temptation for antagonizing a rival fan in another vehicle after a big game. Any kind of distraction on the road can be a major hazard, but one which is fuelled by team loyalty and high emotions has the potential to be lethal than most.
4. Driving Home From Bars
Another dangerous temptation for those without a place to be on Thanksgiving is drunk driving. Watching the game at a bar might seem like a logical option, but driving home afterwards is an obviously foolish and risky move if the individual is inebriated. Drinking and driving is a huge problem across America, and naturally, the inclination toward drinking alcohol before getting into the car is more likely when the Thanksgiving drink specials are on.
3. Drivers Hitting Drunken Pedestrians
Another potential danger on the road comes in the shape of encountering fellow football fans following a hearty game-watching session spent at a bar. When fans spend holidays watching games in bars, the chance of a drunken stumble increases. Thousands of pedestrians are injured or killed due to instances of intoxication every year, and it’s during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas that revellers are most at risk.
2. Driving While Talking on a Cell
An exciting game ran later than expected? Experiencing traffic problems while leaving the stadium? There could be a hundred reasons you need to race back home to make the festivities on time, so calling ahead to let your loved ones know you won’t be long is a tempting idea. The urge to call your buddies and let them know what an awesome game they missed is enticing, too. REMEMBER: Driving while talking on a cell phone was one of the biggest causes of road accidents in 2009 and is even illegal in some jurisdictions.
1. Thanksgiving Eve Hangover
Travelling to the big game in the car might seem perfectly fine after you’ve woken up a little hazy from the big Thanksgiving eve get-together. But the practice of people travelling on the roads whilst hung-over is actually one of the most deadly among modern drivers. If the night was a heavy one, you can still be over the legal limit, but even just having a few drinks with your buddies the night before can lead to a dangerous level of fatigue and unsteadiness.
Driving during the holidays can be especially dangerous, especially for those involved in sports. If you want to stay safe, try to avoid driving around the holidays, and always arrange a designated driver for yourself.