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Avoid Thanksgiving traffic thanks to new data at Google Maps

Avoid Thanksgiving traffic thanks to new data at Google Maps
© Alffoto | Dreamstime

What do you love most about Thanksgiving? Is it a turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce?

Is it watching football games or dog shows on TV with your family and friends? Maybe you love heading out after dinner to see a blockbuster movie, go bowling or go downtown to watch a parade.

Whatever your family's Thanksgiving traditions are, and no matter what you love most about this American holiday, there is one thing everyone can agree on. The best part about Thanksgiving is spending time with your family and friends.

Of course, there's a downside to every holiday, but especially Thanksgiving: traveling. You might be one of the tens of millions of Americans who get on a plane, train, bus or car.

In fact, this year will be the busiest Thanksgiving since 2005, according to AAA. Nearly 51 million people will travel at least 50 miles to get to their destination.

Of those, more than 45 million Americans will travel by car. Which can mean just one thing: You'll get stuck in traffic if you don't know how to avoid it.

We've got some travel tips that will save you a lot of time and aggravation. The best part is, by following these travel tips, you'll get to spend more time with your family. You'll have more time to eat Thanksgiving dinner, watch football and, of course, take a post-Thanksgiving-dinner nap.

Heaviest Thanksgiving Traffic

You get stuck in traffic at some point each week, no matter where you live. It might be on weekday mornings when people are heading to school and work, and in the evening when they're going home.

But holiday travelers mess up normal traffic patterns. Do you know when Thanksgiving traffic is heaviest by you?

Well, Google does. Google Maps looked at traffic patterns in cities around the country last Thanksgiving to help you avoid getting stuck in traffic this year.

Nationally, almost every city sees the worst traffic after the workday on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The best times to travel are on Thanksgiving day.

Traffic is also a lot heavier than normal on Thanksgiving night and into Friday morning as shoppers head out to snag Black Friday bargains. Traffic picks up again on Sunday afternoon, as traffic surges above normal levels when people go home.

But, while national traffic patterns are helpful, it's more helpful to know when traffic spikes where you live. For instance, in the New York metro, traffic surges on Thanksgiving afternoon when people are going to, and coming home from Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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