New York City traffic is always something residents here have to contend with, but with millions of people expected to embark on some Thanksgiving travel around the holiday, delays may be worse than usual.
Nationwide, more than 54.3 million Americans are expected to hit the roads, rails or air for 2018 Thanksgiving travel, according to AAA, all journeying 50 miles or more from home for the holiday. That’s a 4.8 increase in travelers compared to last year.
Unfortunately, New Yorkers will have it the worst. Drivers in New York City are expected to see the largest Thanksgiving travel delays, per the automobile association, with nearly quadruple normal drive times as everyone heads out (or in) for the holiday.
What can you do to navigate this extra-intense New York City traffic? Here’s a look at the worst and best times to hit the road.
Worst times for New York City Thanksgiving travel
Data company INRIX worked with AAA to crunch the numbers around the worst Thanksgiving travel times across the country, based on historical data from the automobile association and recent travel trends.
The worst time for New York City traffic will be Tuesday, Nov. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. Specifically, AAA says I-95 West, from exit 7 to Hamilton Bridge, will see the worst of the Thanksgiving travel traffic. Delays are expected to make your trip 3.5 times longer than usual.
Google Maps also took a look at Thanksgiving travel and traffic trends, and according to their information, the worst time for New York drivers to leave is 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving.
The worst time to head back to New York at the end of your holiday is Sunday, Nov. 25 at 3 p.m., per Google.
JFK airport will be one of the busiest transportation hubs for Thanksgiving travel, so if you’re flying to your holiday destination, make sure you give yourself extra time to get to the airport.
According to AAA, those traveling downtown to JFK via the Long Island Expressway East will hit some major Thanksgiving travel traffic on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:70 p.m., where travel time could hit up to an hour and 19 minutes at peak traffic.
Best times for New York City Thanksgiving travel
To make your Thanksgiving travel experience as smooth as possibly, Google suggests those leaving New York City should head out on Thanksgiving day itself, at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22.
Google data suggests rising early again for your way back home after the holiday, as well. The best day to return from your holiday is Sunday, Nov. 25 at 6 a.m., according to Google data.