Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, is popularly known as the day when many people get a lot of their holiday gift shopping done, taking advantage of the amazing sales that many stores offer on Black Friday and over the Thanksgiving weekend. Many stores will open early on Black Friday, sometimes as early as 6 a.m. or even as the clock strikes midnight on Friday. Some people will drive out to stores in the early morning hours of Black Friday to score the holiday season’s hottest toys for their children, or to get a big family holiday purchase like a new television at a bargain-basement price. 

However, people who choose to hit the roads for shopping on Black Friday and throughout the Thanksgiving weekend should understand the increased risks of motor vehicle accidents on Thanksgiving weekend and learn tips that they can practice to help keep themselves and others safe out on the roads over the weekend and throughout the holidays. 

Why Do Car Accident Rates Increase over Black Friday?

Car accident rates can spike by as much as one-third over the course of the Thanksgiving week and weekend. Black Friday alone sees a one-third increase in auto accident rates compared to all other Fridays during the year. Quite understandably, most Black Friday motor vehicle accidents take place in parking lots. 

There are several reasons for the increase in traffic accidents on Black Friday and over the Thanksgiving weekend, including:

  • Increased traffic, with people going out holiday gift shopping to take advantage of weekend sales, along with other people who are returning home from spending Thanksgiving at a family or friend’s house.
  • Distracted driving -- People out driving on Black Friday may be glued to their cell phones looking up where the best shopping deals are, or using the navigation app on their phone to get to a store or when they are driving home from their Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, cell phone use distracts drivers from the critical task of safely operating their vehicle.
  • Aggressive driving/road rage -- Some shoppers see Black Friday as a race against other shoppers to try to get one of the limited quantities of heavily discounted popular store items. This can lead those shoppers to engage in aggressive driving in an attempt to get to the store as quickly as possible. Other drivers who are traveling over the Thanksgiving weekend may become frustrated at heavy traffic and delays, taking their frustrations out in the form of road rage.
  • Intoxicated driving -- Unfortunately, some people out on the road on Black Friday or over the Thanksgiving holiday have had a little too much to drink before getting behind the wheel, making it even harder for them to navigate the heavy traffic out there on the weekend. 

Tips for Staying Safe out on the Road on Black Friday

You can observe a couple of tips to not only make yourself a safer driver but also to practice defensive driving behaviors to protect yourself from other drivers who may not be as careful over the Thanksgiving weekend:

  • Plan your route ahead of time and leave yourself extra time to get to your destination, so that you don’t get distracted with looking up directions on your cell phone and don’t have to stress about getting to your destination by a certain time.
  • Leave extra distance between yourself and other vehicles, giving yourself more of an opportunity to react if another driver makes a sudden or unsafe maneuver.
  • Park at the edge of parking lots, as most of the chaos in lots on Black Friday occurs closer to the storefronts.
  • Consult your navigation app before heading to your destination to check for traffic delays, road closures, or other issues that might require you to plan an alternate route or destination.

Contact a Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm represent clients injured because of car accidents in Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.