Hoping to beat the Thanksgiving traffic by hitting the road after work on Tuesday? You’re probably making the same mistake as a whole lot of other people.
The Transportation Planning Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments studied minute-by-minute traffic data from a recent Thanksgiving week to create a report on the best and worst times to travel around the holiday. Traffic slows the most during the evening commute on Tuesday, followed by mid-afternoon on Wednesday. Monday, if you can get off work on Tuesday, is a much speedier time to travel.
Here, using data from 2012, is how each day during Thanksgiving week compares to an average day of traffic:
But let’s drill down within the most notorious traffic day—-the day before Thanksgiving—-to see when and where traffic is actually worst. During the morning commute, traffic (largely inbound) is worse on a typical Wednesday (right) than on Thanksgiving Wednesday (left), when many people aren’t going to the office:
By early afternoon, the roads are considerably more clogged on Thanksgiving Wednesday:
In the mid-afternoon, around 3:30, you really don’t want to be on the road on the day before Thanksgiving:
But by 6:45 p.m., the roads on Thanksgiving Wednesday are mostly clear, and even a bit less congested than on a typical Wednesday:
The full report, with interactive maps, can be found here.
Images from the report