The best times to avoid the Chicago Thanksgiving gridlock

Heading through Chicago this holiday weekend? We feel for you. But give thanks: Google has figured out the best times to pass through the Windy City over Thanksgiving weekend.

Analysing last year’s traffic produces some likely results: rush hour in Chicago is always a nightmare, but it’s a particularly vicious hellscape during the holidays. Being willing (and able) to drive in the early morning hours will help anyone traversing the nation’s third-largest city. The best time to get through the city on the way out the door is Wednesday at 3 a.m.

If you can’t make that jaunt in the early-morning hours on the day before, Google’s analysis says to plan to hit Chicago around 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. The best times for your return trip follow the same logic: you’re best off at 4 a.m. on Friday morning to get back through town, or wait until 6 a.m. Sunday.

The worst times come as no shock: 4 p.m. on Wednesday will leave you searching in vain to find a traffic report that gives you any semblance of hope. And, similarly, you’re going to want to avoid the Saturday afternoon rush on the way back home.

Check out more with Google’s breakdown. R.

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