Memorial Day Traffic 2016 - The Best & Worst Times To Drive

With millions of Americans traveling for Memorial Day weekend, traffic jams across the country are all but certain. Although traffic is inevitable, you can still save yourself a lot of time and frustration by knowing when it’s best to hit the road. To help you avoid traffic snarls and get the most out of your vacation, here are the best and worst times to drive this Memorial Day weekend. To make this prediction, Waze analyzed its 2015 Memorial Day app usage, as well as four weeks prior and post holiday to create a traffic comparison baseline. Here’s what we found:

The Best Days To Travel Nationally On Memorial Day Weekend:

Saturday: There is no significant change in drivers on the road or alerts on this day. 
Sunday: There are less drivers on the road than a normal Sunday and no increase in alerts.  

Both Saturday and Sunday are great times to drive on Memorial Day weekend. If traffic is a deciding factor, consider planning your travel time around these two days.
The Worst Days To Travel Nationally On Memorial Day Weekend:
Friday: Friday is the day most people head out for the long weekend. Waze sees an increase in cars on the road from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the highest peak falling between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. There is also a 36% increase in hazard alerts (potholes, roadkill, etc.) this day.

If you plan on traveling on Monday, driving behavior is similar to a regular weekend with low usage in the morning and evening peaks and high usage from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The highest amount of drivers tend to be on the roads between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

This data is averaged and generalized for all of the United States. Scroll to the end of this post to see what times you should (and shouldn’t) leave if you live in one of the eleven cities we analyzed below. 

Waze Features To Help With Your Drive

No matter where you live, don’t forget to take advantage of these Waze features which can really help you on your drive:

  • Planned Drives: Take the stress out of planning for an appointment or important trip, whether today or a week ahead. Simply enter the time and date you need to arrive and Waze will recommend the best time to leave.

    • You’ll also receive a reminder close to your event with an updated departure time based on real-time conditions. Be sure to enable reminder capabilities in your phone’s settings to leverage this feature fully!
  • Smart Calendar: Grant Waze access to your Calendar and/or Facebook to automatically turn appointments and Facebook events into Planned Drives.

  • Add a Stop: Need to pickup someone along your route? Forgot to get coffee or gas? With Waze, add a stop to ensure you’re on the fastest route to both your first and end destination.

  • Speed Limits: Take the guesswork out of speed limits on new and unfamiliar roads along your drive by leveraging this feature which notifies you when you’re over the speed limit. It’s the latest way to avoid speeding tickets!

  • Hands-Free Settings: For an undistracted drive, Waze encourages drivers to use the app as intended by docking the phone and leveraging hands-free functionality during the entire ride. In fact, the entire navigation experience, even reporting an accident, can be done by voice command.

Bonus Data: The Worst Times To Drive On Memorial Day Weekend In Select Cities:
Scroll through to see the best and worst times to leave this weekend if you live in one of these 11 cities.

With all this in mind, We hope you have a safe and traffic-free Memorial Day weekend!

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