Google Data Tells You Best Times To Avoid Thanksgiving Traffic
By Sharelle Burt
Thanksgiving travel can give you a migraine, but there are ways to avoid it. As we prepare to feast with our loved ones, AAA expects more than 54 million people to hit the road, making this the busiest Thanksgiving since 2005. With that many people behind the wheel at one time, you can expect traffic worse than your weekly rush hour.
Google looked at some data from its Maps tool to let us know of the best times to come and go this holiday season. Using some of the busiest U.S. cities, the results aren’t what you want to hear.
Take New York for instance. There is super heavy traffic throughout the Empire State on a regular workday. Now add travelers with hungry stomachs to the equation. Data shows that the best time to leave New York is at 4 a.m. on Wednesday. Doesn’t sound too bad, if you really want to avoid bumper to bumper traffic. Getting back to New York is where you will raise some eyebrows. Friday at 4 a.m. is the best time to hit the road and get back home.
That leaves no room for seconds or enough to digest your food.
Google looked into specific time periods to provide the data. “For determining traffic conditions, we considered the ‘Thanksgiving Holiday Period’ to start the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and end the Sunday after Thanksgiving,” the team said. “We analyzed the total number of cars on the road at a given time, as determined by the speed and location of Android phones that have location services enabled. All traffic information is anonymous and taken in aggregate for 25 US cities and nationally.”
By car is not the only form of transportation that had a significant increase in travelers this year. Flying increased by 5.4 percent, with 4.27 million travelers in the sky. Trains, buses, and cruise ships also had a bump up with a total of 1.48 million travelers.
If you’re not too fond of traveling in the dark, the Google Interactive Tool lets you search data with the daytime-only option.