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Read this before you head out on your Thanksgiving trip

Thanksgiving only comes once a year, so many people take advantage of the chance to catch up with their loved ones. Large family gatherings take place all across the country. That means that many Americans have to be on the road at least part of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Be careful.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) cautions that the annual Thanksgiving tradition is a minefield of dangers for the unwary. While some of those dangers are related to the actual meal (in cases of food poisoning or health crises brought on from over-indulgence), the vast majority of dangers are out there on the roads.

While definitive data is somewhat slim, records indicate that Thanksgiving weekend is one of the nation’s deadliest times for car accidents. That makes sense when you consider the variety of factors that converge together around the holiday.

First, a whopping 90 percent of Americans will take to the road between the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. The vast majority are visiting relatives and shopping — since many consider Thanksgiving the prelude event to Black Friday. With so many people traveling by car, the roads are bound to be more congested. More accidents naturally will occur.

There’s another, darker holiday tradition in play, however, that makes Thanksgiving weekend so dangers for drivers. The night before Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as “Blackout Wednesday” because of the number of people who go on a drinking binge that night. Other people will have wine or beer with their Thanksgiving dinner — not realizing that they’ve gone over their limit until after they’re on the road somewhere.

Because the odds of being in an accident increase so much, it pays to be exceptionally cautious while you’re driving during Thanksgiving weekend. Try to stick to daylight driving as much as possible and avoid heavily congested areas when you can.

Even the best defensive driver can’t always avoid a bad car accident — especially if there are drunk drivers on the road. If you’re injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, make sure that you discuss your right to compensation with an attorney.