As a rule of thumb, the more cars there are on the road, the more likely you are to get into a car accident. And in a city that has the sixth worst traffic in the U.S., that means you want to avoid traffic as much as possible.
Many people who drive in Los Angeles have long suspected that there are better and worse days for traffic. And traffic data from 2019 supports that belief. But there are also worse times of day to travel as well. And if you know those times, you can avoid the worst traffic in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is like most other cities in the country regarding rush hour. Drivers traveling to and from work clog the roads between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. during morning rush hour and between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the evening.
During these hours, the freeways are always jammed. Even many side streets are jammed as drivers try to avoid the bumper-to-bumper traffic of main throughways. If you have any form of GPS that incorporates real-time traffic info, you should use it to avoid the worst of any rush hour traffic. But expect delays no matter where you go.
While the rush hour is primarily dominated by drivers traveling to and from work, the weekends are primarily dominated by pleasure driving. And a lot of those drivers are tourists.
Unfortunately, this means that weekend traffic can be worse than rush hour traffic, even if there are fewer cars on the road. Tourists often don’t know where they are going and aren’t familiar with alternate routes. This means they rely on GPS and may make sudden turns, stops, or lane switches.
Avoiding Heavy Traffic Times
The best way to avoid heavy traffic times in L.A. is to work from home, work close enough to home that you can walk to work, or use public transportation. The latter may not decrease your travel time, but at least you can do things on a bus or train that you can’t do while driving.
Alternatively, if you can change your work hours so that you don’t need to drive during rush hour, you can avoid a lot of traffic. If you are working a hybrid schedule, like many people are these days, the best days to work from home are in the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday). Rush hour traffic is less intense on Monday and Friday than on other weekdays.
The best way to avoid the pain of weekend traffic is to do any driving you need to do in the morning. Tourists tend to sleep in late and stay out later in the evening. If you get your chores like shopping done during the morning, you can usually avoid the worst of the traffic.
If you need to travel during the afternoon or evening on the weekend, try to stay mostly on local roads and stay as far away from common tourist attractions as possible. Most tourists don’t visit L.A. to see the local big box stores or the residential areas. They want to see Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and other sightseeing destinations.
Don’t Let L.A. Traffic Overwhelm You
Drivers in L.A. spend dozens of hours every week in traffic. It is frustrating and unnecessarily time-consuming. Knowing when traffic is most common and taking appropriate precautions can save you days or even weeks in a year.
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