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Data shows holiday travel led to some of the worst accident days in Arizona last year

The Friday before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year, it's also one of the worst for crashes.

PHOENIX — Nearly 500 crashes in a single day last year put a damper on a holiday season that should be about family and food.

In 2020, the Friday before Thanksgiving saw 492 accidents, the third most accidents in a single day all year, data from the Arizona Department of Transportation shows.

Why? it starts with busy roadways.

“More people on the road means more crashes.” Julian Paredes, a spokesperson for AAA said. “It will be the 3rd busiest Thanksgiving since AAA started tracking data.”

AAA estimates nearly a million Arizonans will hit the roadways for thanksgiving travel this holiday season. Combine drivers taking out-of-the-ordinary routes and routines can create a dangerous concoction.

“It comes down to impaired driving, distracted driving, even road rage,“ Paredes said.

So Paredes said to make a plan. Give yourself plenty of time and have patience, and remember, all of us want to be home for the holidays.

"A little bit of work now can save a lot of stress, a big headache, and even a crash," Paredes said. "And know that everyone wants to get home like you.”

December 15 and Christmas Eve were the only two days last year that saw fewer crashes than Thanksgiving.

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