The Most Dangerous States for Drivers This Thanksgiving

Planning on partying with your people for Thanksgiving? With so many folks hitting the road, it’s worth taking the extra time to be safe—even if it means your green bean casserole will be a little cold when you get there.

Whether you live in one of the most dangerous states for Thanksgiving travel or one of the safest, be careful out there, please.

Most Dangerous States for Thanksgiving Travel

The most dangerous and the safest states for driving during Thanksgiving

Most dangerous states

Safest states

*Average number of fatal crashes per 100,000 during November 2013–2017.1

Thanksgiving travel tips and statistics

AAA estimates that more than 3 million travelers will be on the roads this year during the holidays, which is the most since 2005.2 So how can we be safer on the roads this year?

Don’t go into a food coma

Not-so-fun fact: about 27% of US drivers admitted to driving while drowsy at least once in the past 30 days.3 That means if you’ve had so much turkey you can barely keep your eyes open, you shouldn’t drive.

Take a break

We noticed that the more densely populated states have lower fatality rates. People are more likely to get distracted or doze off during long stretches of land. If you feel even remotely tired, it’s better to pull off for a quick nap than it is to take the risk to get to your destination sooner.

Drive at the right time

The worst times to drive are 6 p.m. to 8:59 p.m., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.4 So if you’re worried about missing dinner, pump the brakes and take your time. Or phone it in altogether. Your family wants you safe and well more than they want you to taste their deviled eggs (okay, maybe not Aunt Susan).

What’s different from last year’s report?

  • The top three most dangerous states didn’t change, but they did shift. North Dakota overtook Mississippi for first place. Wyoming remained at number three.
  • Delaware is no longer in the top 10 most dangerous states—nice.
  • Except for New Mexico, all 10 of our most dangerous states received either a D or an F grade from the National Security Council.5
  • We’ve included Washington DC, and it ended up being the safest “state” (we know, it’s not technically a state).

Methodology analyzed the number of fatal car crashes between 2013 and 2017 in each state during the month of November using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System. From there, we calculated the likelihood of an accident occurring this holiday season per 100,000 people in each state.


  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool
  2. AAA, “AAA: More Than 55 Million Travelers Taking to the Roads and Skies This Thanksgiving
  3. AAA, “Fact Sheet June 2019
  4. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “FARS Encyclopedia: Fatal Crashes by Time of Day and Day of Week
  5. National Safety Council, “State of Safety: A State-by-State Report