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Avoid These Roads And Travel Times This Thanksgiving


The holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving is a busy time for travel every year. Air travel is up nearly 8% from last year, according to AAA's annual Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Forecast. However, during Thanksgiving week, airports will only be one of many congested travel hubs. Traditionally, America's highways experience their fair share of congestion as well.
AAA predicts that 54.6 million Americans will travel between Wednesday, November 23, and Sunday, November 27. Of these, 49 million are expected to drive, nearly in line with pre-Covid, 2019 travel volumes (49.9 million). Unfortunately, this volume, paired with remnants of summer construction, not to mention potential winter weather, is bound to cause congestion on the interstates.

Roads in major US metro areas, places like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Detroit, are expected to see the worst delays - up to three times that of regular traffic.  

Within these cities, the worst congestion is typically seen on the region's major thoroughfares. For example, INIRX, a provider of traffic data and insight, predicts that I-85S is expected to be one of Atlanta's worst corridors for travel. In addition, I-290W in Chicago and I-278S in New York were listed as some of the worst corridors for travel in INIRX's 2022 Thanksgiving traffic forecast.
INRIX is suggesting that drivers avoid specific thoroughfares on Wednesday, November 23.

Peak Congestion by Metro 

Metro   Corridor  Increase Over Typical Traffic Peak Congestion 
 Atlanta  I-85 South;
Clairmont Rd to MLK Jr Dr
 105%  Wed, 11/23/22,
1:30-3:30 PM
 Boston  I-93 South;
Albany St to MA-24
 53%  Wed, 11/23/22,
2:15-4:15 PM
 Chicago   I-290 West;
Morgan St to Wolf Rd
 99%  Wed, 11/23/22,
3:00-5:00 PM
 Detroit  US-23 North;
8 Mile Rd to Lee Rd
 32%  Wed, 11/23/22,
2:00-4:00 PM
 Houston  I-10 West;
Sjolander Rd to TX-330
 81%  Wed, 11/23/22,
3:45-5:45 PM
 Los Angeles  I-5 South;
Colorado St to Florence Ave
 144%  Wed, 11/23/22,
5:30-7:30 PM
 New York  I-278 South;
I-495 to 6th Ave
 158%  Wed, 11/23/22,
2:45-4:45 PM
 San Francisco  I-80 West;
Maritime St to San Pablo Dam Rd
 80%  Wed, 11/23/22,
4:00-5:00 PM
 Seattle  I-5 South; 
WA-18 to WA-7
 86%  Wed, 11/23/22,
4:15-6:15 PM
 Washington DC
 I-495 Counterclockwise;
I-95 to VA-123
 85%  Sun, 11/27/22,
11:15 AM-1:15 PM
Data provided by INRIX 


In addition to predicting the most trafficked roadways, INIRX identified peak travel times along those routes. Pre-Thanksgiving, congestion is expected to peak on Wednesday, November 23. Peak travel time between 8am and 8pm. Leave late, after 9pm, for the smoothest drive or at least time your passage through predicted congestion areas during late hours. 

After the holiday, the best time to drive is early, before 11am. Congestion will start building as early as noon and continue through the afternoon on Thursday and Friday. Traffic likely will last through to 8pm on the weekend.
INRIX suggests that drivers avoid these times to avoid congestion.

Best & Worst Times to Travel (by car)  

 Date  Worst travel time  Best travel time 
 11/23/22   11:00 AM – 8:00 PM Before 8:00 AM,
After 8:00 PM
 11/24/22  11:00 AM – 3:00 PM  Before 11:00 AM,
After 6:00 PM
 11/25/22  4:00 PM – 8:00 PM  Before 11:00 AM,
After 8:00 PM
 11/26/22  4:00 PM – 8:00 PM  Before 2:00 PM,
After 8:00 PM
 11/27/22  4:00 PM – 8:00 PM  Before 11:00 AM,
After 8:00 PM
Data provided by INRIX
Thanksgiving travel 

Whether flying or driving, give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to be. Before setting out on a long road trip, make sure your car is up for the drive and pack warm clothes and an emergency kit, just in case. AAA's Roadside Assistance expects to respond to as many as 400,000 calls for help over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.