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Best and Worst Times to Drive This Holiday Season

There is a method to the madness of driving during the holiday season.

This year, one thing is for sure. You need to be prepared to hit the road to get to your loved one’s homes. Some days travel is terrible. Other days, travel is so light you get to your destination earlier than expected.

Traffic jam with rows of cars
Aleksandra Glustsenko, ThinkStock

Waze, a fantastic traffic app has figured out the best times you should hit the roads for your holiday plans. Thrillist breaks it down even further:

The worst times to drive:

Wednesday, December 23rd
Make sure you’re on the road BEFORE 11am, as this is when the rush starts. And whatever you do, avoid driving between 3-6pm when rush hour meets holiday traffic for a literal nightmare before Christmas.


Thursday, December 24th
Your dad was right to rush you all out of the house before dawn on Christmas Eve day; the deluge of autos starts at noon and gets worse until around dinner time.


Sunday, December 27th
The Sunday after Christmas is statistically one of the WORST driving days of the year. In 2014, that day saw an 87.7% increase in traffic jams, a 13.7% increase in accidents, and a 23.2% increase in road hazards. So, you’ll have to decide whether one more day with nana is worth the hassle.

The best times to drive:

Friday, December 25th
Also known as Christmas. Look, what do you really have to do after you eat breakfast and open presents anyway? Waze reports the 25th to be — much like it is with air travel — one of the lightest traffic days of the year.


Monday, December 28th
Light traffic in the morning with a slow buildup all day.

I hope this handy list from Thrillist helps! Good luck on the roads this holiday season, and Merry Christmas!

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