Avoid Texas Thanksgiving Traffic This Year

Hooray, hooray, it’s almost Turkey Day! When most of us think of Thanksgiving, we think of a time meant for food and family. For some of us, though, family is a little farther away—and that means the holiday can also evoke feelings of frustration centered around the nightmare that is holiday traffic.

And, although it’s a nationwide struggle, traveling for Thanksgiving through and to major city areas like Austin or Dallas is even worse. According to The American Automobile Association (AAA) Texas, more than 4.1 million Texas citizens will be traveling over the Thanksgiving weekend, which is the highest number since 2005. And of those Texans, the majority will be doing their traveling via automobile (roughly 3.8 million people). Cambridge Mobile Telematics has reported this year that Austin is the ninth most congested city in the nation when it comes to Thanksgiving traffic—and Dallas is the first.

Stressed yet? Don’t be! We’ve got the inside scoop on the best times to travel to and from your Thanksgiving get-together so you can avoid the worst of the holiday traffic jams.

Heading Out

Try heading out on Tuesday.

Want to get to your Thanksgiving celebration earlier rather than later? Try heading out on Tuesday. Even though the roads will still be busy on Tuesday, it is a way better option than a Wednesday drive. Wednesday afternoons are the worst time to be on the roads before Thanksgiving according to Google, so avoid those at all costs. If you must leave on Wednesday, leave in the early morning if possible!

Another good option? Thursday morning.

Not worried about getting the best seat at the table? Thursday morning is also a good time to leave for your Turkey Day feast. Traffic is lighter, most likely because a lot of folks are already at their destinations. However, do be extra vigilant and on the look out for speeders and distracted drivers trying to hurry to their holiday destination.

We skipped over Wednesday for a reason.

The day before Thanksgiving is statistically the worst day to head out for your holiday destination. (AAA) Texas predicts that traveling time on Wednesday, Nov. 27, will take four times longer than usual (yuck). If Wednesday is your only option, we recommend that you at least avoid the window of 3:00pm-4:00pm, when traffic congestion will be heaviest.

Going Home

Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving is surprisingly not such a bad day to hit the road—if you leave in the morning that is. Traffic is much lighter than it is on the Tuesday or Saturday surrounding the holiday—just be sure to avoid major shopping areas so you don’t get caught in the middle of a Black Friday sale frenzy!

Saturday is not your friend.

Avoid leaving for home on Saturday if you can. Traffic in the Austin area is 13% worse on Saturdays than on it is on Sundays, and in the Dallas area it’s 22% worse…and that’s on a normal Saturday. Imagine how much worse it is on a holiday weekend. We suggest you spend one more day with friends and family to wait out the travel chaos.

This Year’s Weather Forecast

This weekend, Texas is forecasted to experience warmer temperatures and an increased chance of precipitation. Make sure to give your car a once-over and prep before hitting the road (check your windshield wipers, tire pressure, etc.), and remember these tips if you find yourself driving in the rain (or snow if you’re driving out of state).


We’d also like to remind you to be even more aware of your surroundings than normal and practice safe driving techniques this holiday weekend. Try to leave at a good time, minimize distractions in the car, and even if you’re running late—it’s better to arrive safely and behind schedule than risk an accident.

We hope these tips will help take some of the stress of traveling off your shoulders this year. From all of us at Apparent—have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!