The turkey is brining.
The bread is baking.
And, across the country, families are gathering to celebrate a time of gratitude and togetherness.
But the next few hours may spread more devastation than you realize.
It’s Blackout Wednesday, a day known for an increase in alcohol sales and a spike in people heading out to visit with friends before sitting down with family the next day.
From 2012 to 2016, drunk driving crashes killed more than 800 people over the long Thanksgiving weekend, making it the deadliest holiday on our roads (6 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday).
“Thanksgiving is a time for families and tradition, and each of us can do our part to prevent these 100 percent preventable tragedies,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church, whose 18-year-old son Dustin was killed in a teen drunk and drugged crash. “Please take advantage of the many options for getting home safely — a designated, non-drinking driver, rideshare, taxi or public transportation.”
It’s not too late to stop this “tradition,” which only started to gain notoriety a few years ago. The day started making headlines in 2012 and gained several names, such as Thanksgiving Eve, Friendsgiving or Drinksgiving, in 2015.
Here are some ways to fight back
In addition to MADD’s Tie One On for Safety® red ribbon holiday campaign, MADD joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in urging everyone to “Make It to the Table: Don’t Drink and Drive this Thanksgiving Eve.”
This year, we want to put 300,000 Tie One On for Safety ribbons on the road to represent the 300,000 drunk driving incidents that occur every day. You can order a decal here. If you are hosting an office or holiday party, consider passing out ribbons to your guest BEFORE the party begins. Remind your guests to have a safe ride home. Bulk ribbon orders available here.
MADD encourages everyone to spread the word on Nov. 22 and throughout the holiday season by using this MADD’s holiday hashtag #HomeForHolidays, along with #buzzeddriving and #designateddriver. When you take MADD’s pledge to designate a non-drinking driver, you can receive MADD’s first-ever virtual ribbon. Join the more than 500 people who have added this image to their Facebook profile image.
“Thanksgiving Eve is just the beginning of the busy holiday season, and MADD will be out in full support of law enforcement’s efforts to protect our roads through New Year’s Day,” said Sheehey-Church. “Our wish is for everyone to make it home for the holidays.”
To join MADD’s Tie One On For Safety red ribbon campaign and for Safe Party Tips, visit MADD.org/toofs.