Atlanta, GA-The 2013 holiday season is upon us and in a little over a week millions of people will travel by plane, automobile, bus or train to spend Thanksgiving with their loved ones. These gatherings with family and friends are a great time to eat delicious food, but that’s not all, these parties also involve the consumption of alcohol beverages. While the holidays are a warm and fuzzy time, they also have a dark side; this also happens to be the time when drunk driving fatalities jump.

Between Thanksgiving and January 1st, nationwide DUI crashes and arrests spike simply because there are more parties and celebrations. According to a recent survey from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) showed that 75 percent of respondents said they knew someone who drove when they had too much to drink on a holiday.

Which holiday is has the most fatal drunken driving accidents; Thanksgiving or New Year’s Eve?

You probably answered New Year’s Eve, and that would make sense since it is a notorious drinking holiday, where people really let their hair down. But data from the past five years shows that New Year’s Eve, while dangerous, is not the number one holiday for fatal DUI accidents. It’s Thanksgiving.

On an average day, 105 people are killed in drunken driving accidents. Data from 2009 showed that 502 people were killed on Thanksgiving Day. According to AAA, fatal DUI accidents skyrocket on this holiday, because there are 50 percent more vehicles on the roads and highways combined with higher than usual alcohol consumption. Approximately 90 percent of people drive to their Thanksgiving destinations, according the AAA.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve also see their fair share of drunken driving fatalities, but fall short of Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and Labor Day as deadly days on the roads.

Law enforcement agencies are aware that drunken driving increases during between Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. In 2011, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that over 1,000 people nationwide died during that time period because of a drunken driver.

To ensure more people arrive at their holiday destinations safely, law enforcement agencies increase their patrols and set up sobriety checkpoints. Every year thousands of people are charged with DUI during the holiday season.

If you don’t want to get busted for a DUI, there are steps you can take. First, you must realize that you aren’t equipped to make the best decisions when you are under the influence of alcohol so before you head out to that holiday gathering, designate a drive ahead of time. When a loved one tells you are too drunk to drive, listen to them and give them your car keys to keep until you are sober enough to drive. If you plan on drinking, plan on spending the night.

People who are charged with a DUI fail to sometimes understand the seriousness of these charges. If you’ve made a mistake and have been charged with a DUI, do something to help yourself and contact a DUI attorney in your area to build a defense.