Traffic > Guide

Best and worst times to drive on Christmas and New Year

Based on actual traffic data from the Waze navigation app

Want to spend Christmas in the middle of this? PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

In Metro Manila, you don’t really need the Christmas season for you to witness horrible motoring gridlock everywhere—traffic nightmare is 24/7 now, 365 days a year. But Yuletide is still known to complicate motor vehicle congestion even further, with countless people doing last-minute gift-shopping and hopping from one party to another. Indeed, according to our favorite mobile navigation app—Waze, of course—motorists use the popular GPS guide 12% more in December than they do in any other month. This tells us everyone becomes increasingly desperate and helpless on the road as the holiday songs of Jose Mari Chan rise to a crescendo.

Thankfully, Waze has made a tradition of annually releasing a traffic advisory for Christmas and New Year. Or a list of the best and worst times to drive from December 24 to 25 and also from December 31 to January 1. Here is Waze’s latest such guide for Metro Manila:

And here is the advisory for several key cities elsewhere in the country:

Needless to say, these traffic forecasts are helpful and all, but the funny part is that they seem to have the opposite effect—like what happened last year. You see, when we receive warnings about the most dreadful times to take the car out, our tendency is to stay home, resulting in near-empty roads. Conversely, when we learn of the most ideal times to go out and drive, everyone else does the same thing, creating the Carmageddon we were trying to avoid in the first place.

Whatever you decide to do this Christmas and New Year, our simple advice is this: Just use the car if you really have to. Walk, ride a bicycle (or kick scooter) or just stay put if you can. It’s truly merrier that way.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.