Photo: Sundry Photography (Shutterstock)
It’s summer road trip season, and whether driving is your preferred way to travel, or you can’t afford pricey plane tickets, no one wants to get stuck in traffic. While there are no surefire ways to avoid congested roads and highways completely, with a little planning, you can at least minimize the time you spend at a standstill. Here are a few strategies to consider.
How to avoid traffic on summer road trips
Getting caught in traffic is frustrating during your commute, but dealing with it when you’re supposedly “on vacation” is even worse. Here are some ways to reduce the chances of that happening:
Plan your route before you leave
Instead of waiting to punch the address of your destination into Waze or Google Maps until you’re in the car and ready to go, plan your route before you embark on your trip. Sometimes the apps’ suggestions aren’t the best, and you’re better off realizing that while you’re still at home so you can figure out an alternative. Of course, you’ll want to pull up the route when you leave, to find out about any accidents or traffic, but that shouldn’t be the first time you do it.
Have at least one backup route
When selecting a route for your trip, map out at least one or two others as backups. This way you won’t be thrown off if you run into construction or a road closure.
Drive during off-hours
It’s not ideal, but if your goal is to avoid traffic at all costs, consider an extra-early departure time—like 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.—or driving through the night. Not everyone can handle that schedule, and you’ll probably spend the time you saved not-stuck in traffic recovering from the loss of sleep, but serious traffic-haters are willing to make that trade.
Arrive and depart on off-days
If you’re going to a popular vacation spot, incoming traffic is probably going to be worst on Thursday and Friday, and outgoing traffic will likely be bad on Sunday and possibly Monday. Don’t travel on these peak days, if you have that kind of flexibility.