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Why mortality rates spike on Thanksgiving

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday in the U.S. In 2012, for example, there were 764 fatal crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday, followed by 694 on Labor Day and 654 on Christmas. Thanksgiving also saw over 50,000 non-fatal crashes that year. Residents of New York should know that the causes behind this seasonal spike in the mortality rate are mostly preventable.

The NHTSA has found that 60 percent of those killed in 2012 were not wearing a seatbelt, while 40 percent of the fatalities involved drunk drivers. Besides wearing a seat belt and not driving drunk, the agency has several precautionary tips for drivers. They should make sure their tires are properly inflated and that their windshield wipers work. They should take into account weather, traffic, and road conditions before heading out and allow themselves plenty of time so that they don't rush.

Not rushing is also important for those with heart conditions, as deaths due to coronary disease tend to spike in the winter, beginning with the Thanksgiving holiday. The trend holds not only for cold climates but also for traditionally warmer ones. Causes range from emotional and psychological stress brought on by the holidays to the increase in alcohol and food consumption. Salty foods in particular, which increase blood pressure, can lead to a heart attack.

Drivers who cause a motor vehicle accident because of being drowsy, distracted or impaired by alcohol could be held financially responsible for the losses of people who are harmed as a result. An attorney can often be of assistance to an injured victim in this regard.

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