What to Expect: Driving on Thanksgiving


We’ve talked about some tips for driving during Halloween, but now it’s time to talk about driving on Thanksgiving. It’s important to know what’s going on that day, what to avoid, and best times to leave if you’re stuck having to drive on Thanksgiving.

It’s pretty much a given fact that the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. Most people opt for flying and book their tickets well in advance. If you’re one of the unlucky few who has to make last minute travel plans or if you work on the road prepare for the worst traffic of your life. If you’re already prepared for the traffic, its important to know about special events going on around the country which can cause road closures on Thanksgiving Day. If traffic doesn’t keep you from Los Angeles, maybe the Turkey Trot will. This annual marathon takes place every Thanksgiving morning and although it’s a wonderful event the whole family can enjoy, its going to cause a lot more traffic and road closures in the Los Angeles area. Another major event taking place on Thanksgiving Day is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade so steering clear of New York City is definitely recommended. Many major cities will probably have some sort of event going on causing more traffic than usual so avoiding downtown areas altogether is a good idea on this day.

Traffic is already a given on Thanksgiving day, but many people forget that many services are discontinued as well. Its important to know whats closed before you hit the road so you don’t end up disappointed or stranded. So many places are closed on Thanksgiving Day its hard to count but rely on most government agencies to be closed i.e. DMV, postal service, social security. Along with these keep in mind that many medical offices and banks will also be closed so plan ahead if you think you’ll be needing any of these services on that day. Many grocery stores and restaurants are also closed or close at an earlier time than usual so grab what you need ahead of time to avoid being stranded with no open stores in sight. Closures can also vary by city so make sure to check along your route to see if there are any other important closures.

Best times to hit the road if you absolutely have to drive on Thanksgiving Day are early in the morning and late at night. Sounds straightforward but that's because it is. The earlier you can leave the better because you’ll beat everyone out of bed and be the first one on the road. If you’re planning a far trip we recommend trying to get to your destination before 1:00 pm because that’s usually when everyone else heads out to get to thanksgiving dinner. If you work on the road, if you have any breaks available, between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm would be the best times to take them and get off the road for a bit.

Having to be on the road on Thanksgiving Day is already a pain because of the traffic, but being prepared for that and whatever else this holiday throws at you may make if a little easier to get through.

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