Everyone knows about Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving - one of the biggest days for sales and shopping across the country. But did you know that the night before Thanksgiving has a similar name, albeit for a very different reason?
Black Wednesday, sometimes referred to as "Blackout Wednesday," is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. It gained this name for a few reasons. For one, nearly all Americans have the next day off. Thanksgiving being a non-denominational holiday, nearly everyone working outside the food service industry has a free night to do what they wish, with no presents to buy and no ceremonies to attend. Secondly, no one wants to entertain the night before a big day of entertaining. Third, and perhaps most importantly, old friends and family living in far flung places have returned home to celebrate Thanksgiving—and that sometimes starts with a few stiff drinks.
This is especially true for college kids, home for the holiday. They aren't making the turkey, and there are plenty of old high school chums to pal around with. Suburban bars try to lure this crowd in with happy hour drink pricing and discount shots. These elements combine to make a potentially dangerous atmosphere.
Unfortunately, Black Wednesday tends to be one of the deadliest times of the year to be on the road. MADD published statistics saying that 40% of all highway deaths on Thanksgiving Eve are alcohol related (for reference, only 37% of all highway deaths on Christmas are alcohol related). In four of the past five years for which data is available, Thanksgiving weekend surpassed even New Year's in terms of alcohol-related driving fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The BACtrack Consumption Report confirms that the average BAC on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 was 0.062%.
The good news is there is a way to avoid all this trouble. As MADD President Jan Withers said, “drunk driving is a complex problem, but the solution is simple: plan ahead for a sober designated driver if you’re going to drink alcohol.”
To that we will simply add on more suggestion—use a breathalyzer.
If you go out and you plan on drinking, have a plan to get home. Program a taxi number into your phone, pick a designated driver, or know where you can spend the night, if need be.
If you are with someone else who is drinking, don’t get in the car with them. Use your BACtrack to prove to them how intoxicated they are. If you are celebrating at home and others are drinking, make sure your guests know where they stand before they leave.