Most Common Thanksgiving Accidents

Spencer Law Group Nov. 20, 2019

Thanksgiving is a special time of the year to gather with family and friends. Like any holiday, injuries and accidents on Thanksgiving increase versus a normal Thursday. With holiday traffic and more people out and about, accidents are bound to happen.

Here are the most common Thanksgiving accidents.

Car Accidents

While car accidents are prevalent any day of the year, the risk increases during Thanksgiving weekend. In 2012, there were over 50,000 car crashes during Thanksgiving weekend– 764 resulted in a fatality. Studies show that traffic accidents increase 17 percent from 8 pm on Wednesday until 3 am on Thursday morning. This increase in accidents is because of an increase of drivers on the road and drunk driving.

If you will be out on Wednesday, try to get home before it is dark, avoid speeding, and pay attention to other drivers. If you must travel a long distance, consider flying. If flying is not an option and you are driving, take frequent breaks to stay alert.

Football Injuries

Throwing around the pigskin in the backyard can lead to a trip to the ER. The yearly feast is synonymous with football. If you don’t have any pads or helmets, it is best to put the ball back on the shelf. A study conducted by FiveThirtyEight in 2016, found that in 2014 about 550 Americans aged 25 and older were admitted to emergency rooms on Thanksgiving for football-related accidents.

93 percent of Thanksgiving football injuries happen to men with a median age of 33- the most common injury is a broken finger.


It is no surprise there are three times more cooking fires on Thanksgiving than usual. Between 2012-2014, there were 2,100 fires on Thanksgiving. It takes hours to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for a family and leaving the stove or oven unattended is the main cause of these fires. The popularity of deep fried turkey in recent years has led to an increase of Thanksgiving fires, burns, and explosions.

Since 1998, fryers have caused over $9.6 million in property damage.  If you fry a turkey, place the fryer away from your house and put out any fires with an extinguisher instead of water.

Food Poisoning

Considering Thanksgiving is a holiday focused on food, it is no surprise that food poisoning often occurs on Thanksgiving. Improperly handling raw or under-cooked meat on Thanksgiving can cause illness. When handling raw poultry, wash your hands before handling other food to prevent cross-contamination. It is also a good idea to prepare poultry away from other food to ensure there is no cross-contamination.

Placing dressing inside of the turkey is a common cause of Thanksgiving  food poisoning-it is best to leave the dressing as a side dish. To prevent food poisoning from turkey, thaw frozen turkeys in the refrigerator and cook to 165 degrees to kill bacteria.

If you or a loved one is injured during Thanksgiving, contact Spencer Law Group.