Thanksgiving Traffic

Thanksgiving traffic: The day and time you head out of Houston really does make a difference

Thanksgiving traffic: Day and time you leave H-Town really does matter

Google graphic on Thanksgiving traffic in Houston
This graphic from Google Maps just about says it all when it comes to holiday traffic. Courtesy graphic

If you're headed out of Houston for Thanksgiving, it's better to start early or wait 'til late.

That's the word from Google Maps, which analyzed data on traffic conditions and the total number of cars on the road at a given time in 21 cities during Thanksgiving week.

Google found that the worst time for traffic in Houston falls between 1 and 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. So leave before noon or after 6 p.m. Wednesday to beat the traffic. The worst time for traffic across all of Thanksgiving week in Houston is 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Google says.

Or better yet, leave on Thanksgiving morning. Traffic on Turkey Day is a breeze. In Houston, it's the least busy day of the entire Thanksgiving entire week. To make travel easier on even the lightest traffic day, stay off the road between 11 am and noon Thanksgiving Day.

Surprisingly returning home on Sunday is better than Saturday from a traffic perspective. Traffic patterns show that, in Houston, traffic is about 22 worse on Saturday than on Sunday. And Black Friday is the least trafficked day — unless you're near a mall. (Saturday and Tuesday are the second and third heaviest traffic days around the Bayou City on Thanksgiving week, according to Google.) 

Houston ranks No. 8 for worst traffic out of the U.S. cities Google looked at during Thanksgiving week.

Los Angeles, no surprise, is No. 1. Dallas in No. 5 and Austin is No. 9.