1. Properly plan your exit.
Leaving work early on Thursday or Friday is a great idea. So great, in fact, that everyone else will be doing it, too. Expect traffic to peak around noon, but it'll also pick up again around 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., when the holiday traffic combines with normal rush hour traffic. Your best bet? Beat the rush by leaving town before 7 a.m.
2. Remember: Fireworks = gridlock.
Generally speaking, most firework shows start and end at the same time. Plan for serious delays from 10 p.m. to 12 midnight on the night of the 4th as everyone will be leaving from their respective technicolor spectaculars.
3. Don't linger.
Regardless of whether you start your weekend on Thursday or Friday, chances are you'll be heading home on Sunday. Data show that Sunday rush hour will occur between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Reports of traffic are expected to increase 63 percent for the trip home on Sunday.
4. Keep your eyes peeled.
Long weekends are no stranger to the occasional police checkpoint. In previous 4th of July data, Waze saw reports of police activity increase 26 percent on the 4th and 47 percent during the return on Sunday. (And obviously, don't drive if you've been drinking!)
5. Always drive safely.
It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. The traffic and navigation app also cites an 18 percent increase in reports of accidents on this holiday weekend.
And for some added weekend-smarts, here's a breakdown of the main days and hours to expect gridlock, based upon your nearest major city provided by Waze.