Backups, Car Accidents Expected During Thanksgiving Travel in Illinois

Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most traveled times of the year in America. Those in Chicago are no exception to this as thousands both leave and enter the city each year, traveling to celebrate with friends and family and to give thanks for all they have in their lives. This year, AAA predicts that the roadways in Illinois and elsewhere will be congested as 48.7 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the weekend.

Experts believe that this will be the highest-traveled Thanksgiving holiday since 2007 and that approximately one million additional travelers will hit the road when compared to the numbers seen in 2015.

Travelers will be using numerous modes of transportation including planes, trains, and automobiles this weekend but AAA reports that the vast majority will travel by car. Nearly 90 percent of those leaving their homes this year will use a personal vehicle of some sort to get to their destination and relatively low prices of gasoline may be encouraging some of the driving.

In Chicago, congestion and car accidents are expected to be two of the most prominent issues facing drivers over Thanksgiving. If you or your family plan to travel, keep the following tips in mind before you leave home:

  • Plan Ahead: Wednesday will be heavily traveled especially in the afternoon hours. Most of the traffic is expected to be outbound with a large number of motorists heading out of state. If you have the ability to be flexible with your travel times, consider leaving at a less popular time or on a less traveled day, including later on Wednesday or even on Thursday morning.
  • Be Prepared to Stop Without Warning: At any moment, traffic may come to a screeching halt this weekend and you should be prepared for that possibility. Be prepared to stop at any time by increasing the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Anticipate that other drivers may not be familiar with where they are headed and may make poor driving decisions as a result, necessitating your quick action to avoid a traffic crash.
  • Keep the Weather in Mind: Fortunately, Chicago is not expected to see snow this weekend. However, Wednesday may arrive with rain and other inclement weather. If you find yourself driving in the rain, slow down your speed and use your headlights where appropriate. If possible, drive a car with tires with limited wear to increase the odds that you will retain traction if you are faced with a wet roadway.
  • Never Drink and Drive: Unfortunately, the rates of drunk driving in Illinois increase over most holiday weekends. This leads to a greater chance of drunk driving car accidents and to injuries that may result. While you cannot control the actions of other drivers, you can help be part of the solution by refraining from drinking and driving yourself and not letting others in your company drive drunk.

The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope your weekend is joyous and accident-free, but know that if you are hurt in a collision or other accident, we will have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call and to help you understand whether you have a valid claim for your injuries.

Prior Blog Entry:

811 Traffic Accidents Happened Every Day in Illinois in 2014, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 21, 2016.


AAA: 48.7 Million Americans to Travel this Thanksgiving, by Julie Hall, AAA, published November 15, 2016.

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