This Thanksgiving holiday is expected to be one of the years most heavily traveled periods. Using input from fellow I-95 travelers, state transportation data and our own established traffic trends, we’ve put together this helpful guide to make your trip safer and a little less painful.
Let’s begin by saying that the absolute worst time to travel is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, from late morning (around 11:00am) until evening (about 9:00pm). If you can’t avoid traveling at this time at least make sure that you’re well away from an urban area like New York City or the Baltimore-Washington Metro area. Actually Early Thanksgiving morning is a far better time to hit the road.
As far as the return trip, if you’re leaving on the Friday after Thanksgiving, generally speaking I-95 is congestion free… with one major exception. The day after Thanksgiving is historically one of the busiest shopping days of the year and I-95 exits near large shopping districts can really be major traffic bottlenecks. Schedule to avoid Boston’s North Shore, Metro New York City and Northern New Jersey, Fredericksburg to Alexandria, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida if possible.
The majority of travelers returning home will make the trip from early Sunday afternoon to late evening.
Include these considerations when planning your Thanksgiving holiday trip on I-95:
– Most state departments of transportation require contractors to suspend construction activities during major holiday periods. For Thanksgiving, that means from Wednesday thru Sunday night.
– Gas up before you leave
– Expect most Welcome Centers and Rest Areas to be near capacity as a higher volume of travelers use their facilities.
– Holiday traffic means more inattentive drivers, more sudden lane change movements, more road rage and a higher number of accidents.
– If you decide to get off I-95 and take an alternate route, you may have to contend with just as much traffic plus signalized intersections, busy shopping areas, slower posted speed limits and fewer opportunities to pass.
Coming or going, be sure to check the weather forecast as well as the traffic conditions.
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