Best I 95 Travel Days
April 24, 2010 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Best days to travel I 95 from Maryland through New Jersey.

My wife and I travel between Vermont and Florida twice a year, and as we get older, we try to avoid I 95 between Maryland through New Jersey and up through Connecticut, because we see some really crazy driving and lots of heavy traffic. We are going to visit daughter and family in Maryland and cannot avoid I 95 this time. We're looking for recommendations regarding the best travel day of the week to drive on I 95, if there is such a thing. We know that probably three o'clock in the morning might mean less traffic, but we're no longer geared for driving during those hours.
posted by psc1860 to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
I don't know if there's a best day, but in my experience (many, many trips between DC and NY) the worst are Friday and Sunday.
posted by candyland at 2:41 PM on April 24, 2010

Not trying to second guess you, but I do a VT to NY run occasionally (I live in Randolph) and I've found that the small amount of extra time that it takes to do the shuffle over to 87 [and then over via 81 and down 83 to 95] is often worth it just for the sheer lack of hassle factor. You can sort of see an example here of what I'm talking about. It seems like it drops you just North of Baltimore for a drive that's not much longer. Sorry if you're in Brattleboro and this is not helpful.

That said, I've found that mid-week evenings [after commuting time] is okay on 95 most of the time with what candyland said about Friday and Sunday being "forget about it" hellish. Leave Vermont late evening and you'll hit most of the trafficky places after work hours.
posted by jessamyn at 2:49 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

We make frequent trips from Cape Cod down to Philly to visit our daughter and grandkids. I-95 is the worst on weekdays so we prefer to get an early start on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The weekend has been good for us but it can get heavy as you hit the middle to late afternoon. We avoid the George Washington Bridge and the always trafficky Cross Bronx Expressway by taking exit 11 on the NJ Pike for the Garden State Parkway. Take the GSP up to I-287 and go over the Tappen Zee Bridge and then down to I-95 in Connecticut.
posted by birdwatcher at 2:50 PM on April 24, 2010

Early Saturday mornings are the best times to set out--no rush hour, usually no construction.

We've found that getting yourself down 91 from VT to the Mass Pike West, then picking up NYS Thruway (87 as poster said above) or the Taconic Parkway is usually a breeze. Head for Tappan Zee Bridge then Garden State Parkway. This alternative alleviates a huge amount of stress even though milewise, it's longer. There's much less traffic and crazy driving. Having said that, the trip is a bear no matter how you do it.
posted by Elsie at 3:42 PM on April 24, 2010

In conversations with workers in service areas in CT, I've learned that Mondays and Tuesdays are slow days. I've made the Philadelphia-Boston run of 95 many, many times. I've got it down to a science so that I hit 95 around 9:30 or 10am.
posted by vincele at 5:24 PM on April 24, 2010

2nd the I 81 route...just did it last Friday from Baltimore ( we were heading to Maine, so we took 84 E, but 81 was a nice drive...a little longer, but no tolls or traffic jams.
posted by lobstah at 7:15 PM on April 24, 2010

I've driven many times between DC and Boston and find that Saturday/Sunday mornings around 6 are the best times to set out. Drunk people have hopefully gone home already and there are fewer trucks.
posted by melodykramer at 12:43 AM on April 25, 2010

+1 to the 83,81,87 route.

This way also takes you through a few great cities (ie. Charlottesville, VA) that you might have otherwise missed, and is a stunningly beautiful ride along certain portions (I don't know of any part of 95 that I would call "aesthetically pleasing").

Skipping the Maryland->NJ portion also saves you about $20 in tolls, for what that's worth.
posted by schmod at 3:08 PM on April 25, 2010

It's more about time of day, in my experience (CT<>MD), than particular days. Although, as a general rule, Tuesday is best and it goes down from there.

If you're doing the Turnpike route, you want to avoid rush hour around the metropolises, and listen to the traffic alert stations (their frequencies are posted). I've often diverted to Pennsylvania when the ends of the 'Pike get jammed up. My rule of thumb is if the backup is more than half an hour to fortyfive minutes, the detour is worth it (at least southbound, I don't normally bother northbound for some reason.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:24 AM on April 26, 2010

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