What Time Is Traffic The Worst

by Jim on October 25, 2022

It can be frustrating and costly to sit in traffic jams. Americans spend nearly 100 hours each year in traffic, which costs billions in dollars for the U.S. for wear on cars and gas money.

Specific days of the year come with different traffic issues, including the two days before Christmas, the day before Thanksgiving, and the day before Independence Day. The times of the day traffic is terrible in the U.S. will be listed in this article by state.

Which days of the year have the worst traffic in the U.S.?

At various times of the year, traveling from one place to another involves traffic on the roads, congested airports, delayed airline flights, and many sullen passengers regardless of direction.

It’s necessary to know the worst traveling days in the United States to plan better and have a safe and enjoyable time on the road.

1. December 23-26: Two days before and the day after Christmas

Current Statistics from the AAA showed that almost 100 million Americans traveled by road or took flights during the holiday season of 2021. This figure is among the highest since 2000, including people traveling by plane, automobile, and train throughout the last two weeks of 2021. Due to the prevailing rate of travel over the holidays, two days before and the day after Christmas occupies the top spot as the worst travel days, year after year.

2. November 23rd: The day before Thanksgiving

Most people travel to visit friends and family around the Thanksgiving holiday. AAA reports for 2021 show that over 50 million people were to travel 50 miles or more, with a good number of them traveling on Wednesday before the four-day holiday weekend.

Although this figure wasn’t the highest in recent history, it was almost as high as the figure before the pandemic. Crowds at the airports will be less than in other major travel seasons, but those who have plans to travel by air need to know that there could be delays.

3. July 3rd: The day before the 4th of July

In addition to the buzzing holiday season, American travelers find a disturbing number of companions on the highways and in the air during big summer holidays. On the 4th of July, train stations and airports are not congested compared to other major holidays in the United States, but cars heavily congest the roads.

What time of the day is traffic the busiest?

According to a study, there is more risk in the afternoon commute compared to the morning commute. In 2016, between 4 pm and 6:59 pm, 6201 people lost their lives in traffic accidents.

The mortality rate was 85% more than the 3,345 people who lost their lives between the hours of 7:01 and 9:59 am, the period with the lowest rate of deaths. The second most dangerous period was between 7 pm and 9:59 pm, with 6,067 deaths.

Cities with the worst traffic and their times

Let’s now look at the cities with the worst traffic and their times.

1. Atlanta, Georgia

In Atlanta, the rush hour can begin as early as 4 am, and it can persist till as late as 10 pm. In 2019, the number of hours lost in congestion per person in Atlanta was 82. The congestion cost per driver was $1,214, and the worst time to drive in Atlanta, Georgia, is between 6 am - 7 am and 3.30 pm - 4.30 pm.

A particular road commonly congested with traffic is I-285, and you should avoid it if you don’t want to get stuck in a traffic jam. The reason for so much traffic in Atlanta is the city’s strange grid and preference for building over infrastructure.

2. San Francisco, California

Rush hours are between 7 am - 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm from Monday to Friday. Hours lost is 97, and the congestion cost per driver is $1,436. The worst time to drive is between 7 am - 8 am at downtown traffic and traffic to the Golden State and Bay Bridge.

A particular road to avoid is Lombard Street, a famous street in San Francisco with heavy traffic. The bad traffic conditions in this city are because of the water surrounding it on three sides, and it’s just 49 square miles.

3. Portland, Oregon

Portland rush hour is between 7:15 am - 9 am and 3 pm - 6:30 pm. The number of hours lost is 89, and the cost of congestion per driver is $1,317. The worse time to drive is 7:30 am to 8:30 am, and you should avoid the I-5 road if possible.

Another thing to note is that the 3.5 mile-stretch from Denney Road to Interstate 5 gets overcrowded for about 5 hours and 15 minutes a day. The rapid population growth and construction is the main reason for so much traffic in Portland, Oregon.

4. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles’s ever-increasing population density due to poor planning by city planners is the main reason for the traffic congestion.

Weekdays between 7 am -10 am and 4 pm to 7 pm are the rush hours in L.A. The number of hours lost is 103, and the cost of congestion per driver is $1,524.

Fridays from 5 pm - 7 pm are the worst time on the road in this city. During these peak traffic times, you should avoid the I-405 road or the route: I-101 to I-134 to I-11.

5. Washington, D.C.

The morning rush hour in Washington, D.C., is 6 am - 9:30 am, and the evening rush hour is between 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday rush hours are the worst times to drive in this city.

Roads to be avoided are the Intersection of New York Avenue and Florida Avenue NE, the American Legion Bridge, and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The lousy road system in D.C. proper, particularly the diagonal intersections with N-S and E-W streets, is the reason for so much traffic.

6. Chicago, Illinois

Rush hour in Chicago is between 7:30 am to 9:30 am and 4 pm to 6 pm. The number of hours lost is 145, and the congestion cost per driver is $2,146. The worst times to drive in Chicago are in the evenings on Thursday and Friday.

Roads to avoid in Chicago are from Claybourn to West Division Street (North of the City) and I-90/I-94 from Dan Ryan Expressway/Chicago Skyway junction.

Does increased traffic result in distracted driving?

It’s rather tempting to multitask when stranded in slow-moving traffic. You can decide to check your mailbox, Facebook, WhatsApp messages, or even eat breakfast during this period.

Distracted driving, even in stop-and-go traffic, can lead to an accident. Distracted drivers cause rear-end collisions because they cannot see cars changing lanes in front of them or brake lights. These collisions, even at moderate speeds, are capable of causing significant damage and injuries.

Final thoughts

It’s no longer an inaccessible luxury for Americans to travel from one destination to another, thanks to the affordable transportation available. You can avoid the stress of the worst travel times of the year by carefully planning your trip ahead of time and adjusting your dates to escape the worst days.

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