Parades, marching bands, costumes and revelry. Mardi Gras in New Orleans provides it all. While “the greatest free show on earth” is one heck of a good party, road closures and an excess of drivers on the road is a surefire recipe for traffic. Lots and lots of traffic.
We wanted to see if we could help drivers in NOLA find the best driving days (and the worst) in order to avoid the brunt of Mardis Gras Traffic. To check, we analyzed historical data during the week leading up to Mardi Gras 2015 and compared this to a baseline of traffic from four weeks before and after. New Orleans has more than 44,700 active monthly Wazers, collectively contributing over 157,000 alerts and driving over 10.1 million km monthly, so the data is certainly there. Here’s what we found.
The best day to drive - Tuesday, February 9, the day of Mardi Gras. Last year this day showed no real change in traffic or alerts compared to what would normally be happening on a regular Tuesday.
The worst days to drive - The weekend before Mardi Gras, Friday, February 5th through Sunday, February 7th look to be the worst driving days as historically these days have shown above average app use and seen a significant increase in alerts reported.
Friday, February 5th - In the past, at this point of time before Mardi Gras, we’ve seen a 166% increase in traffic jams. Avoid this day if you can.
Saturday, February 6th - Historically we’ve seen a 344% increase in traffic jams and a 69% increase in hazards. If you’re going to drive on Saturday, don’t forget the aspirin.
Sunday, February 7th - This day has shown the mother of all traffic incidents with a 404% (!) increase in traffic jams, a 70% increase in hazards and an 80% increase in accident alerts. If you’re driving on Sunday, please do so with patience and caution!