America's Worst Thanksgiving Traffic (and how to avoid it)
Traveling on Thanksgiving sucks. Even in you're in something of a reverse commute, you can spend hours sitting in miles of traffic, just to get to your destination and have to turn around again and head for home. If you live in any of these locations, getting anywhere can test the patience of any holiday reveler. The Weather Channel and INRIX have come up with America's worst Thanksgiving traffic this year. Follow the advice below and you might get to your destination a little easier. Seattle
If you live anywhere else in America, you think of Seattle as some sort of beautiful hipster utopia, plentiful with fixie bikes– not a traffic-ensnarled hotbed of commuter traffic. But Seattle's I-5 gets tied up like everywhere else on Wednesday afternoon, so be aware of it.
TIP: Check WSDOT's ferry schedule to see if any have been added during peak times. On Wednesday, there's an extra trip to Friday Harbor departing from Anacortes at 1:50 pm.
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Another one of those cities you don't really think of having horrible traffic, but Portland isn't immune. The normally horrible afternoon rush hour along I-5 was worse last year, according to the Weather Channel, when a hail storm increased the road delays exponentially. Hopefully, that's not in the cards this year.
TIP: Thanks to the gorgeous Columbia River, alternate routes out of Portland are limited, but getting on I-5 later than you usually do, using surface roads, can cut your wait time a bit.
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New York City
The surprise last year, according to the Weather Channel, was that traffic was fairly light out of New York City last year, thanks in part to October 2012's Superstorm Sandy that had a lot of people still working from home. Look for that traffic to spool up again for 2013.
TIP: Download the Roadify app and it can help you avoid some of the major traffic. It can also find cheap gas if you're at an exit you're not familiar with.
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If you're learning anything from this, it's that the west coast loves turkey, and leaving the house at the same time. San Francisco is typically a traffic nightmare, and Wednesday afternoon makes it worse. The entire Bay Area gets hit when folks are trying to evacuate at holiday time.
TIP: If you happen to have too much of that scotch uncle Norm brought on Thanksgiving, AAA of Northern California will tow your car home up to ten miles for free. Call 800-AAA-HELP.
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The Weather Channel and INRIX predict that traveling out of DC between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm will add another 20 minutes to a normally horrid commute. Adding insult to injury this year is a major storm set to bear down on the region at exactly the wrong time.
TIP: If you're flying, DC's Metro service is adding a whole lot more bus options to Dulles and BWI. Take advantage of it and let a professional do the driving.
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Weather's also your biggest concern in Philly this year. With a storm set to hit during peak travel time, you'd be well advised to get out either super-early on Wednesday (like before 6:00 am) or super-late (after 11:00 pm).
TIP: Avoid southbound congestion at Interchange #1 (Delaware Memorial Bridge) and northbound between Interchanges #7 and #9 in Central Jersey.
Eastbound or westbound on Chicago's I-90/I-94 is a traffic nightmare on any normal hump day, but on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, you're looking at something of a Turkpocalypse.
TIP: In an effort to increase revenue (and because they hate you), the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police are also aggressively writing tickets for seat belt violations this holiday season, so buckle up.
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Miami just doesn't seem like a place you'd be fighting a lot of Thanksgiving traffic. Nevertheless, it's there between those peak hours of 3:00 and 6:00 pm, so do your best to work around those times.
TIP: According to Operations Manager Ryan Somerfield and the TTN Miami Operations Staff, avoid the Westbound Airport Expressway and the Westbound Dolphin Expressway in Miami by using NW 36th St or Flagler St. as an alternate.
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Getting out of Boston on Thanksgiving headed any direction is a mess, but the Mass Pike Westbound backs up from I-84 (Exit 9) all the way to the 495 interchange at Exit 11A, almost 30 miles east.
TIP: Plymouth Rock Assurance company is sponsoring free tolls at Exit 19 (Allston/Brighton) between 3:00 and 4:00 pm, and on the way home between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am Friday, the service plazas on the Pike will have free coffee.
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This should come as no surprise to anyone that has ever had to drive a car for any reason, but Los Angeles has some of the worst traffic in the country, especially between the hours of 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That's on the 5, the 101, the 10, the 405, everywhere.
TIP: Buy a turkey today and stay home.
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