Gridlock Guy: Halloween + Friday traffic = downright scary commute

A big deal was made a couple of weeks ago about the blood moon — a rare, lunar eclipse that makes the satellite appear red from here on earth. For those of us up early enough to see it, it was very cool.

The traffic world is about to see something as rare as the blood moon eclipse, but trust me it will not be anywhere near as cool. In fact, it could be downright frightening.

Halloween is on Friday. Halloween is historically one of the worst evening rush hours of the year. Friday evenings are typically one of the worst rush hours of the week. Add the two together, and we could see traffic of blood red proportions.

WSB Radio afternoon airborne traffic reporter Doug Turnbull is already preparing for the scary commute. He expects delays to start around lunchtime on Friday.

“Many (commuters) are going to try and leave early,” Turnbull said.

The early Halloween work exodus is something we see every year.

“It is so bad because it is like a half day holiday for everyone,” Turnbull said. “People with kids have to tend to them. People that have to get to parties want to leave early enough for those.”

As a result the evening rush hour turns into an afternoon jam.

“It’s one of those big holidays where the travel and the fun all happen in half a day instead of over a few days,” Turnbull said.

Usually on Halloween the rush hour starts early, but ends early. That could change this year because the holiday falls on a Friday.

Turnbull expects traffic conditions to thin out by 6 p.m.

“But, if there is a bad crash or an unexpected jam somewhere, you never know what could lie ahead.”

The best way to avoid the gridlock? Maybe sit this one out.

“Friday the 31st is a perfect day to telecommute or to take off and use flex hours earlier in the week,” Turnbull said. “The fewer people are on the roads, the less traffic there will be, obviously, and the safer kids will be when they are trick-or-treating in neighborhoods.”

The only good news I can offer Atlanta motorists is that next year Halloween falls on a Saturday.

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