The Safest Time to Travel on Thanksgiving Day

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Lisa Steuer McArdle
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 3 min read
What time do you eat
dinner? You might want to reconsider what time you eat, especially if you’re
to another house for the holiday.
That’s because deadly accidents peak on Thanksgiving evening, presumably after dinner, according to our data here at
Let’s take a look at what the data says about the safest time to
travel on Thanksgiving Day
—and the most dangerous. 
You might want to consider moving Thanksgiving dinner to later in the day for safer traveling.

The safest time to travel on Thanksgiving is later in the evening 

Using crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2005-2019, Jerry looked at the time and volume of
fatal crashes
before and after Thanksgiving Day. The Thanksgiving driving period spans Wednesday at 6 p.m. the night before the holiday until midnight the following Sunday. 
According to the data, it seems that the most dangerous time to drive is between 6 and 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This makes sense, considering it may be the time that people are driving home after having Thanksgiving dinner. 
It’s also worth noting the second most dangerous time to drive on Thanksgiving Day is between 1 and 3 a.m. Thanksgiving Eve is considered one of the biggest bar nights of the year, and people are most likely driving home during this time after a night out.
The data seems to indicate you might be better off eating earlier or later, especially if you’re traveling—that way you can avoid the evening rush and increased risk of accidents when others are driving home. 
The data reveals that accidents are lowest in the morning from 7-8 a.m., and in the evening hours around 10-11 p.m.
According to
, a YouGov poll of about 1,000 people found that most Americans eat Thanksgiving dinner between 4 and 5 p.m. The second most popular time to eat was between 3 and 4 p.m, followed by 2 and 3 p.m.
This seems to make sense with our data, as people who eat during those times could be driving home between 6 and 7 p.m. when
many accidents occur
An earlier
Food & Wine
article analyzed a series of Tweets, which broke down when certain holiday-related words saw a spike in volume on Thanksgiving Day. 
The word “turkey” peaked around 11 a.m.—perhaps because it’s around the time the turkeys go in the oven. Then, phrases like “time to eat” and “dinner time” spiked around 2 p.m.—which would go along with the idea that people might be heading home between 6 and 7 p.m.
Maybe that’s a not-so-scientific poll, but still somewhat interesting nonetheless. 

Saturday after Thanksgiving also sees a peak in accidents

Following Thanksgiving Day, our data also revealed there’s an increase in crashes on Saturday during similar periods. The Saturday after Thanksgiving sees a peak in crashes from 2-3 a.m., and then at 6-7 p.m. 
So it seems that if you are doing any traveling for Thanksgiving this year, Thursday and Saturday might be the most dangerous days to travel, while the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before the holiday are relatively safe.
Having good car insurance will give you peace of mind while driving on the road over the holidays.
can help you find the best rates for the coverage you need by comparing rates from 50 top providers. Use Jerry to save money without the hassle.

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