Here’s What Time You Should Leave to Avoid Thanksgiving Traffic in Your City
There may be no place like home for the holidays, even the merriest of songs can’t help but mention the terrific traffic.
Using traffic conditions from last year, Google determined the best time to leave to avoid a mad holiday rush for 25 major metropolitan areas across the country.
For almost every single city on the list, the best time to hit the road is as early as possible on Thanksgiving Day. Google’s recommendations start at 6 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. to avoid late-night driving (though night owls may have better luck on the roads as long as they don't run into major construction).
Across the country, Wednesday afternoon is the worst time to drive, according to Google.
For those that have a deep-seated hatred of traffic and some flexibility with timing, here’s when you should hit the road:
Drivers in Atlanta should leave on Thanksgiving day at 6 a.m. and return home on Saturday at 6 a.m. The worst times to be on the road are likely to be Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m.
Boston drivers will encounter the least traffic on Thanksgiving day at 6 a.m., and the following Sunday at 6 a.m. The worst times to drive are right before and after Thanksgiving (Wednesday and Friday) at 3 p.m.
Charlotte drivers should avoid being on the road in the afternoon. Highways are likely to be clogged on Wednesday and Saturday at 4 p.m. To get to Thanksgiving dinner without traffic, leave early on Thursday morning and head home on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Based on last year’s data, driving conditions will likely be the same in Chicago and Cleveland: If drivers can wait until Sunday to drive home from Thanksgiving, there will be the least traffic at 6 a.m. The worst times to drive will be Wednesday and Saturday at 4 p.m.
Dallas traffic will likely be heaviest on Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. Drivers can avoid standstill traffic by leaving early Thanksgiving morning and driving home early Sunday morning.
Denver traffic will be at its worst Wednesday and Saturday at 3 p.m. Traffic will be lightest early Saturday morning.
In Detroit, drivers should aim to be on the road early Thanksgiving morning and return early Sunday morning. Worst times to be on the road are Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Friday at 3 p.m.
Houston drivers will have to fight heavy traffic on Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. Lightest conditions are early in the morning on Thursday and Sunday.
Los Angeles drivers will have to wake up early on Thanksgiving and the following Sunday to beat the traffic. Worst traffic will be Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.
Drivers in Miami, Minneapolis and Orlando should avoid leaving Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Friday at 3 p.m. The best times to drive are Thanksgiving morning and Sunday at 6 a.m.
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New York City drivers should return from their Thanksgiving feasts on Saturday at 6 a.m. Everybody else will likely be on the road on Sunday at 3 p.m.
In Philadelphia, drivers should be on the road Thanksgiving day by 6 a.m. and come home Sunday at the same time. Traffic will be at its worst Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.
Traffic in Phoenix will be at its worst on Wednesday and Saturday at 3 p.m. Drivers can avoid it on Thanksgiving and Sunday mornings at 6 a.m.
Pittsburgh drivers should avoid the roads on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. when traffic is likely to be at its heaviest. Thanksgiving and Sunday mornings will likely have the least traffic.
Portland, Oregon, traffic will be at its worst on Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m. Try to schedule drives for Thanksgiving or Sunday mornings at 6 a.m.
Raleigh’s traffic will be lightest on Thanksgiving and Saturday mornings at 6 a.m. Traffic is likely to be at its heaviest Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.
Sacramento traffic will be at its worst Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m. The best conditions will be on Thanksgiving and Sunday mornings at 6 a.m.
Around San Francisco, traffic will be at its worst Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m. Plan to leave early Thanksgiving morning or Saturday to avoid it.
Seattle is the only city on the list that doesn’t recommend leaving for Thanksgiving dinner early Thursday morning. Instead, drivers should aim to leave way, way in advance: Monday at 8 p.m. The highways will have the most traffic Wednesday and Saturday at 4 p.m.
Drivers in St. Louis will have the least traffic on Thanksgiving and Saturday at 6 a.m. The worst traffic is likely to develop Wednesday and Saturday at 4 p.m.
Tampa drivers will have the best luck with traffic if they leave Thanksgiving and Sunday mornings. The worst traffic will be Wednesday and Saturday at 4 p.m.
Washington, D.C. traffic will be at its worst Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. Drivers can avoid it by leaving on Thursday and Sunday mornings at 6 a.m.