Being one of the largest data providers gives Google an advantage–they get a lot of data in return.
Google used its Google Maps product to determine which days and times seemed to have the worst traffic during Thanksgiving week. They also analyzed what types of activities people do when traveling for Thanksgiving, given search terms.
From their analysis:
- Worst day to travel: For most cities, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the worst traffic day — with the exceptions of Boston(Tuesday), Honolulu (Saturday), Providence (Saturday), and San Francisco (Saturday).
- Skip the rush: The worst time for Thanksgiving traffic falls between 3:00pm and 5:00pm the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Better to leave before 2:00pm or after 7:00pm on Wednesday if you want to beat the rush.
- Second worst traffic day: Saturday and Tuesday vie for the second and third heaviest traffic days — Black Friday doesn’t draw huge road traffic.
- Thanksgiving Day traffic: Thanksgiving Day traffic is a breeze — it usually has the least traffic of the entire week; for those looking to beat even the lightest traffic day, make sure you stay off the road between 12:00pm and 2:00pm on Thanksgiving Day.
- When to drive back home: Traffic patterns show that you’re better off driving home from the holiday weekend on Sunday rather than Saturday — traffic can be up to 40% worse on Saturday.
- Changes in holiday traffic: In six cities, Thanksgiving traffic has actually decreased slightly between 2012 and 2013 (Boston,Dallas, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Providence).
People also tend to visit aquariums or museums when traveling. They also search for liquor stores (to help deal with their relatives?)