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Here’s when to leave to avoid the worst of the Thanksgiving traffic, according to Waze

Southbound traffic on Route 93 on Wednesday.Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

If you’re looking to avoid the traffic jams over the Thanksgiving holiday (and who isn’t?), traffic data collected by the navigation app Waze can help you avoid the worst times to make your trek.

If you haven’t left for your holiday trip yet, Waze has offered predictions for when the traffic could be at its worst Wednesday and Thursday, as well as a few other tips. The predictions are based on driving data from November 2016. Meanwhile, AAA is forecasting a 3 percent increase over last year in the number of Thanksgiving travelers nationally, so expect some company on the roads.


Bostonians appear to get a slightly earlier start on their Thanksgiving travel than the national average, according to the data, which predicted that the worst time to drive around Boston near Thanksgiving was Tuesday around rush hour. But what if you’re traveling Wednesday or Thursday? Here’s what Waze says:

When to avoid driving around Boston:

Wednesday: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Thursday: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Food shopping:

If you need to pick up a few things for your turkey feast, you won’t be surprised to learn that you should avoid the supermarket Wednesday afternoon. But according to Waze, there are also plenty of last-minute shoppers to be found Thursday morning, so avoid hitting the store (convenience stores are allowed to open in Mass.; supermarkets are not) around 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Returning from your trip:

According to Waze, traffic peaks around Boston on around midday on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So if you’re looking to drive back home the weekend following Thanksgiving, avoid these times:

Friday: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday: Noon to 2 p.m.

Sunday: Noon to 2 p.m.

And if you wait until Monday to make your way back, the combination of holiday traffic and rush hour won’t be pretty, Waze predicts. Avoid hitting the roads in the 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. timeframe.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.