Google wants to help you avoid Thanksgiving traffic, which is arguably the worst part of the annual holiday.
Google Maps and Google News Lab have teamed up to create the Mapping Thanksgiving page, which provides users with a tool to find out the best time to drive for the Thanksgiving weekend along with some other interesting pieces of information.
Google Tool To Help Avoid Thanksgiving Traffic
At the bottom of the Mapping Thanksgiving page, under the Traffic Patterns section, is a graph that shows the traffic levels during last year's Thanksgiving holiday in various metropolitan areas, compared to the usual traffic levels.
The graph clearly shows that the worst time to drive is from late Wednesday afternoon to the early parts of Thanksgiving morning, a trend that is experienced in all areas covered by the data. This is because millions of families travel to get together and share turkeys in Thanksgiving dinners around the United States.
The traffic situation again picks up from the night of Thanksgiving to the early hours of Friday morning, and then again over the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This is because these are the usual times that families choose to drive back to their homes.
The Mapping Thanksgiving page also provides a tool that suggests the best times for driving around during Thanksgiving per area. For example, for New York, the best times to leave are Wednesday 4:00 a.m. and Friday 4:00 a.m., while the worst times are Wednesday 4:00 p.m. and Sunday 3:00 p.m.
Other Thanksgiving Data Provided By Google
The Mapping Thanksgiving page, however, does not only offer driving advice. It also provides some interesting information on what users search for during the holiday.
Google discovered that searches for ham shops surged in the Wednesday before thanksgiving last year, while outlet malls were the second most uniquely popular national searches over the holiday. Coming in at third was tree farms during Black Friday, as users already started setting up for Christmas right after Thanksgiving. At fourth were natural features, as users apparently wanted to enjoy nature over the holiday, and at fifth were electronics stores, as users prepared and hunted down deals for Black Friday.
The page also provided tools to check the uniquely popular searches for food and drink, entertainment, and shopping in the same areas covered by the traffic graph. The information should give a pretty good insight into what the locals of each city love to eat and do for Thanksgiving. Who knew that people in Portland really love donuts for the holiday?