If you’re looking to beat the holiday gridlock this Thanksgiving, the earlier you hit the road, the better.
This Thanksgiving, AAA projects nearly 51 million Americans will be on the roads and in the skies to make it to their Thanksgiving destinations. It’s supposed to be the most traveled Thanksgiving since 2005.
If you live in the Washington, D.C. area or are traveling here this Thanksgiving, you can expect to be caught in some of the worst traffic in the country. The DMV is ranked in the Top 10 for most congested cities at Thanksgiving.
What interstate gets the trophy for being the worst at the holiday time? I-95 S at US-17/US-1, which is just before you get to Fredericksburg, Virginia.
According to AAA, the other Top 10 Traffic Hotspots in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area are…
I-95 S @ US-17/US-1/EXIT 126
MD-295 N @ I-195
I-95 S @ VA-234/EXIT 152
I-495 CW @ MD-337/ALLENTOWN RD/EXIT 9
MD-295 N @ MD-100
I-270 N @ MD-85/EXIT 31
I-270 N @ MD-80/EXIT 26
I-95 N @ MD-100/EXIT 43
I-95 N @ VA-123/EXIT 160
I-495 CW @ MD-414/ST BARNABAS RD/EXIT 4
So. What are the best times to start driving to avoid the holiday gridlock?
Google Trends says the best time for traveling before Thanksgiving is Wednesday at 3 a.m. or on Thanksgiving day at 6 a.m. The time you want to avoid hitting the road is at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Though AAA has also seen a shift in the worst Thanksgiving travel time from Wednesday evening to Tuesday evening between 4:45 – 6 p.m. That’s because Tuesday holiday travelers mix with regular commuters trying to get home from work.
After the holiday, expect to see the roads jam up again. When you’re heading back to the DMV, aim to leave on Friday at 4 a.m. or Sunday at 6 a.m. The time Google Trends says you don’t want to make the trip back home? Saturday at 4 p.m.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport also expect to see record numbers this holiday season, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
The busiest travel days for D.C. airports are expected to be Sunday, November 26, and Wednesday, November 22. The day the airports should see the lightest congestion is Thanksgiving Day.