Best times to dodge traffic during Thanksgiving weekend

Traffic on IH-35 near downtown Austin. (KXAN Photo/Tom Rapp)
Traffic on IH-35 near downtown Austin. (KXAN Photo/Tom Rapp)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new report by the American Highway Users Alliance says I-35 in Austin is one of the worst spots in the country for traffic, specifically between East Riverside Dr. and Dean Keaton St.

If you want to avoid the traffic, experts say it’s best to hit the roads tonight or on Thanksgiving day. Coming home, they say to travel either Saturday or early Monday morning, and to avoid Sunday afternoon.

More drivers unfortunately means more accidents. The National Safety Council estimates more than 400 people will be killed and more than 52,000 seriously injured in car crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, which starts tonight and ends Sunday night.

Some drivers we spoke with, say they try to avoid those risks and traffic, by going around I-35.

“If I can get off the main road be either using the toll road or some parallel way into Austin, I will definitely use that,” says Norm Kraack, who lives in Round Rock.

Despite the surge in holiday traffic, Thanksgiving is far from the busiest time of the year for DPS Troopers. They make the most stops on Independence Day. Last year troopers stopped more than 68,000 drivers in the week around the holiday. Labor Day weekend came in second on the list, with more than 53,000 stops.

Thanksgiving week was far behind, ending up at 32nd on the DPS list. Troopers stopped more than 35,000 drivers last year. That’s thousands fewer stops than Christmas week, Spring Break and even Mother’s Day weekend. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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