The weather is expected to affect holiday travel across the country this week.
Here in New England, the weather is already putting a damper on things as we kick off one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.
While Monday and Tuesday look quiet, a storm from the Midwest could bring rain and snow on Wednesday, causing issues for people traveling the day before Thanksgiving.
Having to share the road with millions of other travelers on the way to Thanksgiving dinner on top of battling bad weather conditions will heighten the stress of travel.
Here are some tips we have pulled together to make your travel and shopping experience this holiday season a bit tolerable.
Best Times To Travel
Over at Google Maps and Google News Lab, they have done their best to tackle travel by sharing important data for people driving.
They are providing insight into the places people visit around the holidays and the best times to get on (or stay off) the road. You can find info for planning your travel at Google’s Mapping Thanksgiving site.
Not only that but Google maps can help you avoid the crowds by using the Popular Times feature to see when holiday destinations like grocery stores, shopping malls, movie theaters, and bakeries are the busiest. So, if you forget to bring dessert, you can map out the best way to the nearest bakery without hitting further traffic.
Google’s tips for travel we found were
1. The absolute worst time to hit the road is Wednesday, according to Google. It is the busiest travel day of the week. Congestion peaks between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday in many parts of the country. If you have no choice but to travel on November 27, plan to leave earlier in the day before roads get too crowded.
2. Better still, it pays to leave the house early the day of the actual holiday. Around 6 a.m., roads will be clear in most major cities, with traffic gradually increasing throughout the morning and peaking as early as noon.
3. To avoid a Thanksgiving travel hangover try your best to avoid the Friday or Sunday rush by leaving in the morning instead. Ideally, get up early and leave by 6 a.m. on Sunday, when there are significantly fewer cars on the road.
4. If planning on shopping on Black Friday at the brick and mortar stores because internet shopping just won’t do it for you, plan to get up with the sun on Black Friday. According to Google, the best time to visit a shopping center is at 7 a.m. The worst time to go is at 1 p.m.
Winter Weather tips
But we are not done with your tips, because as insurance people, we care about your safety. As the weather will be snowy cold and icy, during the peak holiday and shopping time, here are some added tips when traveling during wintery weather.
- Change the way you drive- Drive slower than you normally do and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles on the road.
- Don’t crowd the plow- Give plow trucks plenty of room and only pass when it is safe.
- Stay alert- Keep your gas tank over half full at all times and if traveling, take frequent breaks and be aware of changing road conditions.
- Increase the normal following distance from the car in front of you. Giving you plenty of room to break in case of an accident ahead or sudden braking.
- Slow down gradually, don’t slam on the brakes
- Avoid stopping while traveling up a hill or driving too slow up as it can cause you to get stuck.
- Use caution on bridges and overpass
- Don’t use your cruise control during icy or snowy conditions
- Clear your vehicle of all snow and ice for better visibility
- Watch for slippery spots and black ice.
You can find more tips at safeMotorist.com.
We can’t always avoid the weather or the hassle of holiday travel. But we can work to make it as smooth as possible. It is all in the planning.
We wish you and your family a safe and fun-filled holiday season. We hope these tips will ensure that you do. From all of us at Barton Insurance, Happy Thanksgiving!