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  • Sharon Winter

Need Thanksgiving Travel Tips?



The first time my husband and I drove home to Kentucky from Tampa for Thanksgiving we were newlyweds. We were young, adventurous, and not prepared for the 20 HOUR return trip to the Sunshine State! Interstate 75 was a parking lot through most of Georgia and Florida. Thankfully we remained married. Had we read Google Data’s report on Thanksgiving travel statistics we would have driven home on Sunday instead of Saturday. But wait, Google didn’t exist then. Neither did Google Maps. Nor did smart phones. We just had to wing it. Now we can use technology to plan our travel – and maybe even reduce our family squabbles in the car.

When is the best time to leave before Thanksgiving? Google has analyzed the traffic data from prior Thanksgivings and has determined that you should NEVER attempt to leave from, or drive through, a city from 3-5 pm on Wednesday. If you have to leave on Wednesday, make sure it’s before 2 pm or after 7 pm. Better yet, if you can wait until Thanksgiving morning, it’s likely that it will be smooth sailing as there is very little traffic on the holiday.

What’s the best day to drive home? Sunday. The data shows that there’s 40% more traffic on the roads on Saturday.

Stuck in traffic? You may want to consider downloading WAZEon your phone before your next trip. WAZE analyzes real time traffic data and suggests alternate routes before you get to the traffic problem. But remember, as with any phone app, NEVER attempt to use it while you’re driving. Always pull over or let your passenger be the navigator.

About to run out of gas? Download GasBuddyfrom the app store before you leave. It will show you the cheapest place to get gas.

Don’t be distracted. More cars on the road means more people on their cell phones behind the wheel. Put your phone down. Let your passenger navigate. Remember distracted drivers actually mimic intoxicated drivers: they speed up, slow down, cross the yellow line, drift over onto the shoulder. They are an accident waiting to happen and many times are the reason that you are stuck in traffic.

RightLane wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving and patience for your journey.