Christmas Eve is only a few days away, so it's time to pack your bags and plan your journey home for the holidays. If you're not flying to a family member's house, there's a good chance that you'll be driving. If that's the case, you should probably know about the worst days to travel during Christmas. Believe it or not, there are specific days leading up to the holiday that are worse for drivers than others — and some of them depend on where you live. Thankfully, those dates have already been mapped out so you can plan your travels accordingly.
As you can probably imagine, most traffic-ridden travel dates have already taken place — and the rest are right around the corner. Per Accuweather, this year's holiday travel period will last for 11 days between Dec. 22, 2018, and Jan. 1, 2019. However, it appears that the "worst day to travel" around Christmastime has already taken place. According to the publication, Trevor Reed — a transportation analyst for INRIX — implied that people who drove on Thursday, Dec. 20, endured the most traffic. For reference, INRIX is a company that specializes in mobility analytics.
With that being said, those of you who haven't hit the road yet can take a sigh of relief. Apparently, you missed the most congested travel date of the season.
It looks like those of you who drove home for the holidays on Dec. 19 endured some major traffic, too. In fact, Dec. 19 was one of the worst days to travel in certain cities. In order to come to that conclusion, Accuweather sourced travel trends from INRIX and created a chart that shows the worst travel dates for particular areas of the country. Thankfully, some of the dates have already passed — but others are yet to come.
According to Accuweather's chart (which can be found here), San Fransisco will endure its worst driving date on Friday, Dec. 21, peaking at 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Atlanta, on the other hand, will experience major traffic from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22 . Finally, both Detroit and Chicago will experience their most cringe-worthy gridlocks on Christmas Eve (Monday, Dec. 24). However, Detroit's worst times to travel will be between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., while Chicago's congested time frame will be from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
If you live in any of those major cities, keep those travel dates and times in mind.
Other cities on Accuweather's chart — which include New York City, Boston, Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. — already experienced their worst holiday travel dates. Some of them fell on Dec. 19, and others on Dec. 20. However, the traffic isn't anywhere near over yet, and will likely continue until Jan. 1.
On top of that, the 2018 holiday season will reportedly boast the highest amount of drivers since AAA started tracking travel in 2001, per Accuweather. With that being said, be sure to drive carefully if you're planning on traveling before (or after) Christmas. The cookies and milk will still be there if you're a little late to your family's holiday party.