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Hitting The Road For Thanksgiving? Here’s What You Should Know

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Thanksgiving weekend is just around the corner, and many families are gathering in the United States. According to recent data shared by the American Automobile Association (AAA), 89% of travelers are choosing to drive to their destinations—which have also been determined to be, in most cases, over 50 miles from home.

family in the car staring at dog

Around 49 million Americans are avoiding airports and flights for this holiday, but that also means that traffic congestion and busy roads are expected, especially around major metropolitan areas. 

“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” said Paula Twidale, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel, in a recent press release. This year is predicted to be the third busiest Thanksgiving since 2000.

thanksgiving dinner

Debbie Haas, AAA Vice President of Travel, said in a recent statement: “While gas prices and other inflationary pressures weigh on budgets, travel remains a top priority for Americans, particularly during the holidays.”

Those who will not be traveling to the top international destinations for Thanksgiving and rather stay near home should be aware of the best and worst times to travel. 

Best And Worst Times 

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traffic jam in New York, traveling fr thanksgiving

Experts from INRIX—a private analytics company—  have studied data and shared valuable information to prepare travelers for delays.

Bob Pishue, the Transportation Analyst at INRIX, said: “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the holiday weekend. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

driver adjusting air in vehicle

These are the best and worst times to travel by car during the week across the United States:

  • Wednesday 23: Best time to travel is before 8:00 am and after 8:00 pm. The worst time to travel is from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.
  • Thursday 24: Best time to travel is before 11:00 am and after 6:00 pm. The worst time to travel is from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • Friday 25: Best time to travel is before 11:00 am and after 8:00 pm. The worst time to travel is from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
  • Saturday 26: Best time to travel is before 2:00 pm and after 8:00 pm. The worst time to travel is from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
  • Sunday 27: Best time to travel is before 11:00 am and after 8:00 pm. The worst time to travel is from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
traffic jam

Cities With The Most Delays

Of course, there are cities and highways where traffic will be worse. These are the top 5 cities where traffic congestion is forecasted:

  • New York: peak congestion is expected on Wednesday 23 between 2:45 pm and 4:45 pm. Traffic on corridor I-278 South; I-495 to 6th Ave will increase by 158%.
  • Los Angeles:  peak congestion is expected on Wednesday 23 between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Traffic on corridor I-5 South; Colorado St to Florence Ave will increase by 144%.
Downtown Los Angeles Buildings with freeway in foreground
  • Atlanta: peak congestion is expected on Wednesday 23 between 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Traffic on corridor I-85 South; Clairmont Rd to MLK Jr Dr will increase by 105%.
  • Chicago: peak congestion is expected on Wednesday 23 between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Traffic on corridor I-290 West; Morgan St to Wolf Rd will increase by 99%.
  • Seattle: peak congestion is expected on Wednesday 23 between 4:15 pm and 6:15 pm. Traffic on corridor I-5 South;  WA-18 to WA-7 will increase by 86%.
Seattle skyline

Heavy traffic is also forecasted for Florida, especially at the I-95 near Orlando, as many of the hotels in the city have high occupancy. For this holiday, it’s probably not a good idea to travel spontaneously, and it’s wise to consider these recommendations to avoid getting stuck in a traffic jam for hours.

exhausted woman behind the wheel

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com


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