Thanksgiving 2017: The best and worst times for Atlanta traffic this Thanksgiving

8:46 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 Traffic

Whether you’re scrambling to make last minute Thanksgiving plans or you booked your holiday flights months ago, don’t let gruesome Atlanta traffic and flight delays at the busy Atlanta airport ruin your festivities.

To ensure you make smart travel plans this Thanksgiving and Black Friday, we reached out to popular navigation app Waze for local historical traffic data to determine the best and worst days to be on the move around Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 23) and Black Friday, Nov. 24.

We’ve also incorporated national Google Flights historical data, which was shared on the company blog in October, as well as some newly-released Google Trends insights.


Try to avoid the absolute worst times to drive: 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21 or 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, especially if you’re headed to the airport.

Using 2016 national data, Waze found Tuesday navigations to airports are up by 50 percent and Wednesday navigations to airports are up by 66 percent.

Tuesday, Nov. 21: 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 22: 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23: 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.

If you’re leaving the weekend before Thanksgiving, the best time to hit the road is 6 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, according to the Google Flights blog.

Between Sunday and up until 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, traffic will get progressively worse.

But many of you probably  don’t plan on heading out for the holiday until Tuesday or Wednesday.

If you plan on leaving during the work week, Google recommends heading out Wednesday at 4 a.m. or on Thanksgiving Day at 6 a.m. — if you’ll make it in time for dinner, that is.

National Google data indicates Friday, Nov. 17 and Wednesday, Nov. 22 will be the busiest pre-Thanksgiving airport days. Try to avoid flying on these days.


National Waze data shows the worst times to drive after Thanksgiving will be Monday, Nov. 27 at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. In Atlanta, traffic peaks between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday.

If you’re flying back home Monday, navigations to airports will also be up by 21 percent compared to an average November Monday.

And if you’re headed out on the weekend, Google and Waze Atlanta data shows Saturday between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. will be peak traffic time as well.

There will also be a spike of mid-day travel on Sunday, Nov. 26. Traffic in Atlanta will peak between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Waze warns that navigations to airports will peak at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m Sunday., so you may want to consider booking an earlier flight.

Compared to an average November Sunday, navigations to airports on Nov. 26 will be up by 53 percent.

Friday, Nov. 24: 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. 

Saturday, Nov. 25: 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. 

Sunday, Nov. 26: 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. 

Monday, Nov. 27: 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

According to Google, if you’re leaving Atlanta, the absolute best times to hit the road and avoid Atlanta traffic after Thanksgiving is Friday at 4 a.m. or Saturday at 6 a.m.

But if you don’t plan to leave so soon, just try to avoid the worst time ranges listed above.

Google Flights search data from the past two years indicates that Sunday, Nov. 26 is one of the busiest days of the year to fly.

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