Why did the turkey cross the road? To escape the Thanksgiving traffic! It’s no secret that the roads are packed over the holiday weekend - tens of millions of motorists take to the roads on this weekend.
But with the chance to get away from the city and indulge in sightseeing, fall sensations, and food, glorious food, it’s worth braving the Thanksgiving drive. To make sure you stay safe and sane, check out our top tips for surviving the traffic on Thanksgiving day.
1. Avoid driving on Wednesday evening
The Thanksgiving travel rush starts on Tuesday evening and peaks Wednesday afternoon, before tailing off on Thanksgiving at midday.
From 4pm – 7pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the worst time to travel, so avoid leaving then unless absolutely necessary. Travel could take up to three times longer around then. If you can’t avoid driving on Wednesday, try to leave before 2pm or after 7pm.
Traveling on Thanksgiving day might be your best option. The roads will be much quieter and less stressful.
When coming back from your weekend away, try to avoid Sunday afternoon. Travel Sunday morning or early on Monday to beat the Thanksgiving traffic.
If possible, travel from Tuesday to Saturday, or even from Thursday to Monday. This is the best way to avoid the worst of Thanksgiving driving.
2. Make sure your vehicle is full of fuel and ready to go
The last thing you want is to run into car trouble. Get your car checked before you hit the road for the weekend, and fuel up a day or two before you leave so you'll have one less thing to worry about on the day.
Shameless plug: If you hire a mini RV from JUCY they come with a full tank of gas, plus you can be assured they have undergone stringent maintenance and quality checks. All you have to do is grab your keys and go!
3. Resist the urge to rubberneck
If you see a crash or other drama unfold while driving, don’t slow down to get a better look. Rubbernecking compounds traffic problems and can make delays even worse on busy weekends. Show courtesy to your fellow drivers and keep moving.
4. Take the back roads
The interstate might seem like the most direct way to get to your destination, but give some thought to taking an alternative route. Back roads might take a little longer but are guaranteed to be more scenic. Plus, it’s much more pleasant to take your time on a rural road than to spend the same amount of time fighting road rage as you while away hours in bumper to bumper traffic.
5. Drive safely
More cars on the roads means more chance of accidents. The death toll on the roads climbs over Thanksgiving weekend, so make sure you take extra care when driving.
- Take breaks when you can and share the driving if you’re travelling with a buddy.
- Check the weather before you leave and be prepared for the conditions
- Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front, even when crammed into a traffic jam
- Check your route in advance so you know which exit to take and don't have to make any sudden lane changes
6. Pack plenty of snacks for energy
Going hungry will only make you angrier if you get caught up in a traffic jam! If you run out of snacks, take the opportunity to stop for a coffee or something to eat. Five or 10 minutes won't slow you down. In fact, being refreshed might help you get to your destination faster.
7. Choose excess reduction when booking your vehicle
If you’re taking a rental vehicle away on holiday, make sure you choose the option for excess reduction when booking. Even if you drive perfectly, you can’t guarantee what other people may do. Save yourself the stress on an already stressful weekend. Liability cover and a collision damage waiver can make sure you're covered in the case of vehicle damage.