PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Long before roasted turkey hits the table, the night before, bars and nightclubs are the big hit.
Blackout Wednesday in America begins at 6 p.m. the night before Thanksgiving and monitoring of the Thanksgiving drinking trend doesn’t end until the Monday morning after Thanksgiving. AAA Tidewater spokesman Ryan Adcock is monitoring the Thanksgiving holiday drinking trend.
“So the past couple of years … people are gathering together, most of the time with their friends out on the town, out and about before they are spending that time with their family,” Adcock said. “And so it is a time where there is an increase in drinking or we see an increase in partying and that can ultimately lead to an increase in drinking and driving, which is what we do not want to see.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, beginning with Blackout Wednesday and through Monday morning, Thanksgiving has turned into Drinksgiving.
In 2021, 190 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during the long Thanksgiving holiday period. According to the NHTSA, more than four times as many drivers involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired during nighttime hours than during the day. Adcock said there is no excuse for drunk or buzzed driving
“Whether that be a friend or family member coming to pick you up or utilizing a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. Our community partner, Drive Safe Hampton Roads, is offering $15 credit on Lyft for Blackout Wednesday,” said Adcock.
With the expected increase in drunk driving, AAA Tidewater also has a pedestrian warning.
“So, making sure that we’re staying visually aware of pedestrians, especially when we know that we’re traveling through those areas that have heavy foot traffic,” Adcock said. “We talk a lot of the times about distracted driving, but not as much about being a distracted pedestrian, which is a thing as well.
“So making sure that we are visually focused on the road when we are walking near the road or crossing the road, making sure that we’re crossing the road at a crosswalk or at a corner, making sure that we’re when we are crossing those roads, making sure that we’re making visual eye contact with the driver so that there’s a mutual agreement of saying, hey, I’m going to cross the road.”
Adcock also reminds drivers about the importance of seat belts and age-appropriate seating for children.
“Making sure that our children are in the proper car seats, making sure that they’re in the proper car seats properly,” Adcock said, “making sure that they’re strapped in correctly, and just making sure that we are doing preventatively everything we can, like using our seatbelts, using the correct child seats and following all of the driving and traffic laws so that everyone can get home safely and alive at the end of the day.”