For many of us, Thanksgiving is a delightful holiday. Food, family and football, what's not to love? However, it's not all drumsticks and cranberry sauce during Thanksgiving. There's also the dreaded holiday traffic.
Since it seems like everyone in the country is on the road at the exact same time to get to their Thanksgiving festivities, the holiday traffic is nothing short of a nightmare. It's almost enough to make you stay home.
But fear not, because Google is here to help make your experience in Thanksgiving traffic this year a little more bearable. Google Maps analyzed the traffic patterns of 21 cities across the United States before, during and after Thanksgiving.
Unsurprisingly, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the worst day for traffic since most people leave work early that day to make their way to their holiday destinations. Accordingly, the worst time to travel is between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on that Wednesday. Philadelphia, Austin and Washington, D.C. saw the biggest increase in traffic during Thanksgiving week between 2012 and 2013, while Providence, Boston and Denver had the smallest increases.
All of this means that traffic on Thanksgiving is a bit lighter. Black Friday traffic is also not too bad since people are probably either recovering from their Thanksgiving meals or driving in the wee hours of the morning to snag those Black Friday savings.
In planning any return trips, Sunday is a better day than Saturday. Traffic can actually be up to 40 percent worse on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I honestly don't know if now having all of these insights could help you get through Thanksgiving traffic any easier, but hey, at least now we know.
Though they were probably supposed to be prepping their Thanksgiving dinners, people did a lot of Googling during Thanksgiving week as well. "Ham shop," "pie shop" and "liquor store" were the top three most popular searches on Google Maps the day before Thanksgiving. But it appears that Americans just can't live in the moment. On Thanksgiving Day, the No.1 trending search term on Google Maps was "outlet mall" as people put the finishing touches on their Black Friday plans, and the top two search terms on Black Friday were "Christmas tree farm" and "festival." Once Thanksgiving is over, it's all about Christmas, after all.