Driving through Atlanta, Georgia can be a daunting task, especially during rush hour. To avoid the traffic nightmare, it’s important to plan your route, know some valuable tips and timing carefully.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to find the best time to drive through Atlanta and make your journey as smooth as possible.
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What affects traffic in Atlanta
Traffic can be affected by current events as much as it is affected by weekday rush hours. With that in mind, you might like to know a few of the Atlanta attractions that bring visitors to the city.
- Atlanta is the capital of Georgia
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is at the top of the list of busiest airports in the world
- Atlanta is home to 5 professional sports teams (Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Atlanta Dream & Georgia Swarm)
- CNN is located in Atlanta
- The Georgia Aquarium is in Atlanta
- Multiple large concert venues that attract world famous entertainers
- Numerous museums, historical centers and other tourist attractions
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
Atlanta is known for its heavy traffic, particularly during rush hour. To avoid the traffic nightmare in Atlanta, it’s important to plan your route ahead of time. Use a GPS to find the best route based on traffic patterns and estimated travel times.
Consider alternative routes that may be less congested, even if they take a little longer. Some alternative routes may take you off the highway and through town. Those can wind up taking longer so you need to consider what is more important to you, sitting in traffic or taking longer.
It’s also a good idea to check traffic updates before you leave and adjust your route if necessary. By planning ahead, you can save time and avoid the frustration of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
I-75 and I-85 go straight through downtown Atlanta and tend to experience traffic jams. You will see signs instructing you to pull off the road if you have had a fender bender. There are also signs giving updates on traffic delays, road construction (which is never-ending) and estimated times to get from where you are to a popular exit.
- Avoid I-285 if at all possible
- Use the HOV lane if you have at least 2 people in your vehicle
Avoid Rush Hour
Rush hour traffic in Atlanta can be a nightmare, with heavy traffic and long delays. To avoid this, plan your route to avoid driving during peak traffic times on interstates through Atlanta.
Atlanta Traffic Rush Hour Times
- morning rush hours are 6:30 am- 9:30 am
- evening rush hours are 4 pm – 7 pm
However, traffic can be heavy throughout the day, especially on major highways like I-285 and I-75. It’s important to plan your route accordingly and avoid driving during peak traffic times if possible.
Use Traffic Apps to Stay Informed
One of the best ways to find the best time to drive through Atlanta is to use traffic apps. Use a traffic app like Waze, GA 511 or Google Maps that provide real-time traffic updates and can help you avoid or alert you to congestion and accidents. These apps also offer alternative routes and estimated travel times, so you can plan your trip accordingly. Make sure to check the app before you leave and during your trip to stay informed about any changes in traffic conditions.
Stay Alert and Be Nice While Driving
While it may seem obvious, staying alert and focused while driving is crucial to outsmarting Atlanta traffic. Avoid distractions like texting, eating, or applying makeup while behind the wheel. Keep your eyes on the road and be aware of your surroundings.
Additionally, be nice. Use your turn signals to change lanes. Do not honk your horn at anyone. It is best to always avoid road rage anytime but certainly in bad traffic. Remember, everyone is trying to get somewhere, just like you.
Best Time To Travel Through Atlanta
The best time to drive through Atlanta is 10 am until 3 pm on a good day. These are the best times to avoid the morning rush hour traffic and the evening rush hour traffic. All bets are off if there is a big game or a big concert in town.
Navigating The Lanes On Interstates Through Atlanta
Refer back to the first tip, plan ahead. If you have read your map or GPS app, you should be familiar with where your Exit is going to be. With that information in mind, try to stay in a middle lane. The left lane can become an exit to your left and the right-hand lane is sure to become an exit to your right. The best thing to do is stay in a middle lane until you are closer to your own exit.
If your road trip is going to have you traveling through the Atlanta area, use these tips to make your journey smooth and hopefully uneventful.
- Plan your route ahead of time
- Avoid rush hour times
- Use an interactive traffic app to stay informed
- Stay Alert and Be Nice
- Travel through Atlanta between 10 am and 3 pm if possible
- Know how to navigate the lanes