- Like most holidays, commuter traffic mixes with the people trying to get out of town on Thanksgiving, which explains the influx of vehicles on highways.
- For 2023, you can expect heavy traffic from November 21 to 22 around 4 to 5 p.m.
- Blackout Wednesday is one of the most dangerous nights for driving in the US, so you might want to avoid hitting the road during that time.
Thanksgiving is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. It’s a day when you get to travel and meet up with your friends and family who live a couple of miles away, and a day you simply get to enjoy being in their company.
There is, however, one thing that most people dread when Thanksgiving is right around the corner一the gridlock.
Background Check on the Thanksgiving Gridlock
According to a report from the American Automobile Association (AAA), Americans travel approximately 50 miles or more to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Like most holidays, commuter traffic mixes with the people trying to get out of town on Thanksgiving, which explains the influx of vehicles on highways.
In 2022, the AAA also predicted that about 49 million people would be on the road for the holiday, which was 0.4% higher than the previous year. This was partly because of the pandemic that kept people in their homes and prevented big gatherings during holidays.
Skip These Times on Thanksgiving
Nobody wants to spend Thanksgiving inside their car while moving from bumper to bumper. And if you’re one of the millions of people who will be traveling for the holiday, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind.
For 2023, you can expect heavy traffic from November 21 to 22 around 4 to 5 p.m. According to Google Maps’ insights, these are the days when commuter traffic merges with rush hour traffic.
Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 22) won’t be a walk in the park, either. According to a report from transportation analytics company INRIX, that day is predicted to have a national traffic peak as well.
For those who are planning to travel on Thanksgiving Day, the busiest times are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Beware of Blackout Wednesday
Aside from planning the best time to leave your house for the holiday, driving during Blackout Wednesday is another thing you should be mindful of.
Blackout Wednesday, also known as Thanksgiving Eve, is considered to be one of the most dangerous nights for driving in the US.
Festivities usually occur the night before Thanksgiving, which means a lot of people are out drinking. Blackout Wednesday is recognized as one of the top nights where alcohol-related accidents occur.
Skip These Areas on Thanksgiving Day
You can expect the following metropolitan areas to be congested on Thanksgiving:
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
- Los Angeles
- Dallas-Fort Worth
INRIX has also identified specific highways drivers might want to avoid. These include:
- I-278 south (New York)
- I-5 and I-405 south (Los Angeles)
- I-85 south (Atlanta)
Safety Tips for the Thanksgiving Day Drive
As with any other driving day, you should always have safety as your main priority apart from getting to your destination on time.
Here are a couple of safety tips to keep in mind before going on a Thanksgiving Day drive.
Preparation is Key
It’s bad enough that you’re stuck in traffic for the holiday, but to have your car broken down in the middle of the road during one of the busiest days of the year will simply be too much for anyone.
So before pulling your car out of the driveway, make sure that you check everything, from tire pressure and wiper fluid to spare tires and basic tools.
Heavy traffic tends to bring out the inner road rage in most drivers, and you can’t really blame them.
But no matter how dragging the traffic flow is, try your best to avoid tailgating and always keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
Aside from drunk driving, drowsy driving is another common cause of vehicular accidents.
Although it might sound like common sense to pull over when you’re getting sleepy behind the wheel, some tend to ignore this notion and keep driving after working all day.
Stubbornness can often lead to accidents. If you feel your eyelids getting heavy while driving, it’s best to find the nearest rest stop and take a nap before hitting the road again.
Also, make sure to put your phone down, and focus all your attention on the road. If you need to reply to a message or answer an important call, it’s best to pull over before anything else.
Thanksgiving Day Essentials: Travel Edition
A freshly cooked turkey is a must during Thanksgiving Day, but save that for the dining table. Here are some essentials you might want to keep in your car when traveling during the holiday.
If you’re relying on apps like Waze to find the best route while traveling, a phone mount will come in handy as you navigate the map. This will keep you from tapping on your phone while you drive, which could easily lead to an accident if you’re not careful enough.
You’ll never know how long you’ll be stuck on the road, so it’s best to keep a bottle of water in your car in case you get thirsty. It’s also a good idea to keep a few snacks around to avoid getting hungry.
Chargers are always essential for every road trip 一 no matter how short the travel time is. When driving during Thanksgiving Day, a fully charged phone will help you keep in touch with your loved ones while you’re on the road.
First Aid Kit
Always keep a first aid kit in your trunk. This will help you stay on top of treating minor injuries after accidents. Some first-aid kit essentials you might need are band-aids, gauze, ice packs, and personal medicine, among others.
Portable Snow Shovel
Snow-filled driveways can be a hassle to deal with. Fortunately, you can avoid getting caught up in obstructed roads with a portable snow shovel that can fit in your car.
Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.