Thanksgiving day may be one of the happiest days of the year, but its evil twin, the Wednesday before, marks the single worst day for traffic almost everywhere in the United States.
Notorious for it's long delays and frustration, the day before Thanksgiving sees millions of people take to the roads, skies and rails as they travel to see friends and family nationwide. New York City finds itself atop the lists of both Top Origins and Top Destinations, as the city transitions from the Big Apple to the Big Apple Pie.
Best Practices for Holiday Travel
Choose your days wisely:
The two days to avoid driving according to the New York State Thruway Authority (NYST) are the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving. Wednesday has been labeled a "Gridlock Alert Day" by the city, who asks that you take public transit wherever possible as streets will be at capacity.
Google Maps says "Traffic patterns show that you’re better off driving home from a long weekend on Sunday rather than Saturday—traffic can be up to 40% worse on Saturday. And Google Maps will be with you all the way home, helping you check out gas prices and add detours to your route, without having to exit out of navigation." Read more from the Google Blog.
Be strict on departure time:
Start by leaving early in the mornings, especially if you plan on leaving Wednesday, as traffic tends to pick up throughout the day with kids getting out of school and parents leaving the office. Pack the car the night before and be clear of the city by 8am if possible. As far as your return trip, traffic will be poor on Friday near shopping districts should build through the weekend with the worst hitting Sunday afternoon. So if you’re leaving Sunday, again, depart early. It’ll be the difference between 2 hours and 8 hours. Late at night is also a good alternative.
Stay Alert: Government officials are urging travelers to remain alert for emergencies and advisories. Check NYC DOT for updates.
Stay Safe: One last important reminder, with the heavy increase in traffic, the roadway will be fully staffed throughout the entire holiday week. So to all of you lead-foots out there, please watch your speed. (Along that note, you may do others a great favor by sending a speed trap alert with the road, direction and mile marker. We wouldn’t want a ticket to ruin your turkey day!)
If you're staying,
Parking regulations including Alternate Side Parking will be in effect everyday except Thursday.
If you're going,
Be sure to gas up.