Beware the Deadliest Holiday Weekend to Be on the Road

Photo by Ivanko80 /

As if having to battle your way through crowds of tourists isn’t enough, here’s another reason you might want to stay home on Memorial Day weekend: You’re more likely to die in a fatal car accident during the May holiday than on any other holiday weekend.

That’s according to an analysis by ValuePenguin. Seeking to determine which holidays saw the greatest number of fatal car accidents, the financial data site examined accident data for 2011-2015 maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, is most deadly of the year’s holiday weekends, followed closely by the two other summer holidays:

  • Memorial Day weekend: 312 fatal accidents, on average
  • Labor Day weekend: 308
  • 4th of July weekend: 307
  • Easter weekend: 280
  • Thanksgiving weekend: 258

By comparison, a “normal” three-day weekend period sees 250 fatal accidents, on average, ValuePenguin reports.

Memorial Day weekend also brings the greatest chance of getting into a drunken-driving accident. Of all accidents that happen over the holiday weekend, 40.3 percent involve a drunk driver, on average, compared with 29.2 percent for a normal three-day period.

A busy holiday weekend for travel

If that’s not enough bad news for you, AAA projects that 39.3 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles from home this Memorial Day Weekend by road, sky, rail or water. That would be the greatest travel volume on a Memorial Day Weekend since 2005. Most of these travelers — 88.1 percent — plan to hit the road.

Bill Sutherland, AAA’s senior vice president for travel and publishing, cites improving economic conditions:

“The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year. Higher confidence has led to more consumer spending, and many Americans are choosing to allocate their extra money on travel this Memorial Day.”

An expensive holiday weekend to travel

As we note in “5 Careless, Costly Summer Travel Mistakes,” it’s generally more expensive to travel during the three holiday weekends of summer compared with other summer weeks or weekends.

This year will be no exception, based on AAA’s numbers. The nonprofit association of motor clubs reports that on Memorial Day:

  • Gas prices are expected to be the highest since 2015.
  • Hotel prices are 18 percent higher than last year.
  • Car rental rates are 7 percent higher than last year.

If you’re determined to leave home this Memorial Day weekend, first check out “13 Simple Ways to Save on Your Summer Vacation.”

What’s your take on traveling during summer holiday weekends? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Most Popular
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages
New Retirement Bill Would Help Savers of All Ages

With bipartisan support, this bill could help millions of workers and retirees boost or conserve their retirement savings.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.