With holiday travelers expected to join commuters and commercial drivers on the road in light of Thanksgiving, state highways nationwide will see heavy traffic during the next few days including in the Philadelphia region.
In Pennsylvania alone, about 3.45 million drivers are estimated to be traveling the Turnpike over the Thanksgiving holiday from Tuesday through Sunday, said the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
Here are some tips to help avoid the inconvenience of traffic in your holiday travels, as presented by Google Maps’ traffic patterns and Amtrak’s data from past Thanksgivings:
Best day to leave
Both companies concur that busiest travel days are the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The best time to leave for a smooth trip is Tuesday 6 a.m. As usual, avoid traveling from 3 to 5 p.m. when traffic is at its worst.
Worst day to leave
Wednesday is the busiest traveling day before Thanksgiving, but for the many people it’s the earliest they can leave due to work. If that’s the case, then it’s best to hit the road early -- from 5 to 7 a.m. and avoid driving around 3 to 5 p.m.
Best day to return
Many people will be recovering from a food coma the day after Thanksgiving; so the earlier you hit road on Friday-- preferably around 6 a.m.-- the least likely you are to come across heavy traffic. Avoid traveling around the late afternoon/early evening when Black Friday shoppers on their way to the stores.
Worst day to return
The weekend after Thanksgiving is the busiest time to travel, especially Saturday. If you’re really eager to head home Saturday, leave by 6 a.m. and avoid traveling from 4 to 6 p.m. when traffic is at its worst.
Be sure to book Amtrak, Greyhound or other transit tickets ahead of time and be prepared for crowded trains and buses.
The Pa. Turnpike Commissioner announced that all highway construction and maintenance work will be altered to allow full use of the road and keep it safe. Beginning 5 a.m. on Tuesday until 11. pm. Sunday, all lanes will be open.
And, if Delaware highways are in your travel plans, DelDOT planned to suspend planned lane closures from Wednesday to next Tuesday (Nov. 29) to ease congestion.