Thanksgiving Traffic Tips

Avoid Thanksgiving traffic in Austin with these tips from Google

Avoid Thanksgiving traffic in Austin with these tips from Google

Austin traffic highway I-35 congestion
Avoid getting out the day before Thanksgiving if you want to avoid this scene.  Courtesy photo

Thanksgiving, as a holiday, is an ode to the great American traditions: football, excessive amounts of food, stretchy pants and traffic that causes one to question if they really need to see their family this year. And traffic in Austin really is as bad during Thanksgiving as everyone says it is: According to Google Maps, we have the second-largest increase in overall traffic during Turkey Week.

For its findings, Google Maps looked at traffic information for 21 cities across the United States from 2012-2013 to reveal traffic insights and top tips for avoiding traffic. Data was pulled from the Monday before Thanksgiving to the Sunday after.

 The day before Thanksgiving ranks as the heaviest travel day of the week.

 It's likely no surprise that Wednesday is absolute anarchy for travelers. With people trying to get in and out of the city, the day before Thanksgiving ranks as the heaviest travel day of the week.

And it seems that the idea of beating the traffic is not exclusive to you alone, as 2 to 4 pm is when the roads are most congested; 3 pm is the worst time to think about running any errands. If you're looking to avoid the rush hour, it's wise to get out by 1 pm or after 5 pm, Google says, and you should listen to them because they have more data than Skynet.

If you absolutely have to go out Wednesday, Google has the places to avoid. According to Google Maps directions trends, the three most searched-for places were “ham shop,” “pie shop” and “liquor store.” Of course, if you don't know where your nearest ham shop is, priorities are clearly misplaced.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Thanksgiving day features the lightest traffic of any day. After all, everyone is full of ham. But if you absolutely yearn to drive the streets alone, avoid getting out from noon to 2 pm, because that's when people are making runs to their nearest ham shop for supplemental ham.

Arguably the biggest problem about traveling is the fact that you have to do it again at the end of a trip. If you can stomach your relatives an extra day, you're better off driving home on Sunday, because Saturday's traffic is about 13 percent worse in Austin. It's the Sophie's Choice of holiday frustrations, but it might also give you some time to recover from being trampled on Black Friday for a big screen that will be obsolete in two years.