From kitchen fires and deep fryer disasters to food poisoning and car accidents, Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays. If you take a few precautions and remember these tips from safety organizations, your family gathering won’t end in disaster.

Play it Safe in the Kitchen

Unattended food in the kitchen and the misuse of turkey fryers are major sources of fire hazard during the holidays. In fact, Texas ranks highest in cooking related insurance claims. “If you’re frying a turkey, hold off on drinking until it’s done,” Brad Parker says. “Most people get injured because the turkey is wet when they try to fry it. Water and grease don’t mix. Overflowing the pot is another common problem.” Raw turkey or poultry that is mishandled or not stored correctly could make family or friends ill after the meal. Turkey should always thaw in the refrigerator and when cooked, it should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Brad says, “There are so many meat thermometers on the market, undercooking really shouldn’t ever happen. If you can’t easily pull the leg off, it’s probably not done.”

Review COVID Restrictions 

States vary in their COVID policies. These restrictions may cause some travelers to reconsider travel plans. If you are hosting a large gathering with people of mixed vaccination status or are just worried about spreading the virus, the Centers for Disease Control says there are a few different things you can do to keep dinner safe. As always, distance can help prevent COVID from spreading. Wearing masks when indoors can prevent the spread of the virus, and keeping gatherings small or limited to just members of your household can also help.

Upgrade Your Insurance Policy 

Almost everyone knows that if you file a claim after a crash, your car insurer will probably raise your car insurance rate. You may want to weigh whether the potential increase is worth the cost, or whether it's better to pay out of pocket for any costs. Single-car accidents are particularly concerning during holiday travel. Damage to your vehicle caused by poor road conditions or the increased traffic generally won't be covered by a liability-only insurance policy. You should consider upgrading to a full-coverage policy instead.

Acquire Roadside Assistance 

The higher potential for accidents combined with longer-distance driving means you may want to look into roadside assistance options prior to travel. Your car insurance provider or car manufacturer may offer limited roadside assistance, but a comprehensive plan should cover towing, flat tires, fuel delivery, locksmith services, and jump starting your battery.

Get a Designated Driver 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a spike in alcohol-impaired driving on major holidays. Those who choose to travel on either Thanksgiving or Christmas may want to consider getting a designated driver who will commit to not drinking or call a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Brad says, “If you are hosting a gathering, remember to keep an eye on any guests under the age of 21. In the state of Texas, party hosts can be held liable if a minor has been drinking in their home and is involved in an accident following the gathering.”

Delay Your Departure

Nighttime driving significantly complicates other risks associated with driving over the holidays. You may need to arrange to sleep over until morning. Not only will this reduce the potential impact of weather, but it'll also allow your body to recover if you've been drinking. Brad says, “The best advice is to drive defensively, in good weather and during daylight hours…and obviously drive sober.” 

Thanksgiving Travel Statistics

  • Thanksgiving has the third-highest number of fatalities behind Memorial Day and the 4th of July.
  • There are about 48.7 million Americans on the roadways traveling 50 miles or more at Thanksgiving. 
  • In 2020, an estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle traf­fic crashes, up 7.2 percent from 36,096 fatalities in 2019. The increase in fatalities occurred despite vehicle miles traveled falling about 13.2 percent in 2020 from a year prior as stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic were in effect.
  • Compared to other days, the Thanksgiving holiday sees a 22% increase in nighttime vehicle fatalities. 
  • 54% of those killed at night were unbuckled.
  • 42% of those killed during the day were unbuckled.
  • An estimated 55,300 serious injuries will occur in the U.S. during the four-day Thanksgiving Holiday period.
  • 35% of traffic deaths over Thanksgiving weekend involve a driver with a blood-alcohol level of at least .08.

Have You Been Injured In A Texas Area Car Accident?

If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Bedford, Texas office directly at 817.440.3888 to schedule your free consultation. We help car accident victims throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington as well as all areas of Texas.

*information according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.

W. Bradley Parker
Protecting the rights of North Texas personal injury victims since 1985.
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