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Blackout Wednesday: A time for all drivers to be cautious

Maybe people are enjoying an early start to the whole holiday season -- or maybe they just really hate visiting their relatives on Thanksgiving. Whatever the cause, there really is a huge uptick in the amount drinking that happens during the evening before Thanksgiving.

The night has even earned it's own moniker: Blackout Wednesday.

Reports of the phenomenon have gone back at least to 2012, when it was first associated heavily with larger cities. It may have started as a sort of local event in places like Chicago and Philadelphia, but nobody's exactly certain.

What experts do know now is this:

  • Bartenders and cops weren't just imagining it -- there are a lot of people who set out to get more than a little tipsy on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
  • Growlers (a variation of the old-fashioned beer keg) jump over 600 percent.
  • Beer sales spike 270 percent.
  • Sales of hard liquor aren't quite as dramatic, but they still pull in 114 percent more purchases than compared to the previous Wednesday.
  • People don't even bother with the glass -- they go straight for the bottle. Wine sales by the glass drop by 27 percent.

Some experts think that it's just that the holiday season is getting people in the mood to celebrate, and a lot of people are enjoying their first 4-day weekend in a while.

All of this means another thing, though, that non-drinkers need to keep in mind: road safety. Many drinkers will be responsible and take Uber home, but some people always fool themselves into believing they can drive while drunk just as well as they can sober.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is officially considered one of the busiest nights of the year for most local bars -- and one of the most dangerous nights to be on the highway. It's also dangerous to be even near the highway -- so pedestrians need to be extra careful as well.

Frankly, given how many people might be driving with a hangover the next day, it's probably not bad advice to keep in mind on Thanksgiving either.

If you are in a car accident with a drunk or hungover driver this Thanksgiving weekend, it's important to consider your legal options, including your right to compensation for your injuries. Don't talk to an insurance company until you've had time to look at your options.

Source: The Orange County Register, "Heavy drinking on Thanksgiving Eve is more than an urban myth," Paul Hodgins, Nov. 15, 2017

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