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3 Tips for Avoiding Future Thanksgiving Traffic and Enjoy the Feast

The holidays are quickly approaching and many people are stuck at work or otherwise engaged away from their families. Those of us who can count ourselves among the lucky few with the next few weeks set aside exclusively for festivities are worried about one thing: the traffic. If you have car insurance and plans this holiday season, chances are you’ll be on the road. We’ve set aside this time to be with our families, eating as much food as possible and exchanging gifts, but the holidays are often filled with errands that need to be run in preparation for the big day.

Avoiding the holiday rush seems to be impossible, but thanks to Google Maps and the information it provides, we can avoid the worst traffic of the season and still get our shopping done without having to make an auto insurance claim. In the words of Google Maps product manager Aaron Nelson, “You should spend your holidays with friends and family–not behind the wheel of a car. To save you from traffic headaches this Thanksgiving, we’re giving you a look at Turkey Day traffic and trends, powered by Google Maps.”

The following tips were compiled with information from 21 major U.S. cities, and while traffic trends can be dramatically different depending on where you live, these four guidelines can go a long way to saving yourself hours of standstill traffic.

Beat the Holiday Rush
It’s a good idea to get as much of your shopping out of the way before any Thanksgiving chaos starts, but we’ve all forgotten something before. If you suddenly remember that you didn’t pick up any stuffing ingredients, avoid driving between 3 and 5 in the afternoon. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, that time frame is a nightmare, but avoiding it is as simple as leaving before 2 or after 7. If it’s Thanksgiving Day when you realize you’re missing something, have no fear, because…

Traffic is Low on Thanksgiving Day
This surprised me, because I thought that plenty of people would be on the road making last-minute shopping trips, but actually, Thanksgiving Day has very manageable traffic. If traffic is usually bad in your area, keep in mind that Thanksgiving traffic peaks between noon and 2 p.m. Avoid that timeframe and you shouldn’t hit any major traffic.

Coming Home from the Family
If you’re planning on taking a road trip to go see your relatives this Thanksgiving, avoid driving home on Saturday. It’s the middle of the weekend, and not only are people coming home from festivities, but they’re also on the way to their families for a quick one-day visit. Traffic in both directions can cause plenty of slow stretches of road, but if you schedule your return on Sunday, everyone will be busy watching football and the roads will be relatively clear.

Are you planning on taking a long trip to see the family? Do you think you’ll need to do any last-minute shopping? Let us know in the comments section below!

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