When is the best time to drive through Atlanta? 8 useful tips

According to research, there is no specific time when the traffic in Atlanta is at its worst. Instead, when planning your route through this area, it’s best to consider when the most people are expected to be traveling. The following times are when most people will be on the road.

Most congested day of the week: Monday

The most congested weekday when driving through Atlanta is Monday. This occurs because everyone returns home after Labor Day weekend and begins their new routines for work or school.

Although Monday isn’t necessarily worse than any other weekday, it starts with reduced speeds around the city, making for slow going all day long. If possible, try planning routes that avoid coming into or leaving from downtown during peak hours (6 am-10 am and 3 pm-7 pm).

Most congested time: Friday evening

Friday night in Atlanta starts with reduced speeds when the day is winding down, but it gets worse when commuters start to make their way home. The evening rush hour can last until around 8 pm when speeds start to return to normal.

Least congested days of the week: Sunday and Thursday

The least congested weekday when driving through Atlanta is Sunday when drivers can enjoy full open roads throughout the afternoon hours.

It’s also recommended that drivers avoid busy holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving when many people will be returning from visiting their families for a few days. If you have to travel on these days, allow plenty of extra time when planning your route.

The least congested time when driving through Atlanta is Thursday when speeds peak around lunchtime and then afternoon. Since fewer people are on the road, drivers don’t have to worry about getting caught in traffic for hours when they leave or arrive from work.

If you have to drive during rush hour, try going before or after these times when the roads are a little less crowded.

Suppose you’re planning a trip through Atlanta during off-peak hours. In that case, it’s recommended that drivers pay attention to the signs posted throughout the city for construction and road closures since this can change traffic flow drastically throughout certain areas of town.

You may also want to check out Google Maps for live traffic if needed, so you know what to expect when you’re on your way.

Best time to drive through Atlanta: when you don’t have anywhere to be

The best time of day when driving through Atlanta is when no major events are occurring. If this isn’t possible, checking out the Georgia Department of Transportation Traffic Center or Google Maps for traffic updates can help keep drivers updated with any road closures or construction that may affect their route.

The Georgia DOT also has a Hot Map that shows current traffic speeds throughout the city, which can help when planning routes around slow areas.

Even though there are some rough times when driving throughout Atlanta due to congestion, it’s important not to forget about Metro Atlantans’ extensive public transportation system that makes it easier for commuters to enjoy traveling downtown without worrying about the stress of traffic.

If you’re planning on visiting this city when congestion gets bad, make sure to check out our Atlanta visit planner for more information.

Is there an hour that is rough to drive in Atlanta?

Atlanta is notorious for its traffic congestion, and while no one can pinpoint when exactly the worst time to drive through Atlanta occurs, we can still say when the best time to drive through Atlanta is.

According to a 2015 INRIX Traffic Scorecard, the worst time of day and week to avoid driving near Atlanta is on Thursday evening from 6:00-7:00 pm when average speeds fall below 34 MPH (about 5 km/h).

Drivers typically only need about 18 minutes to drive through the city during off-peak hours (before 9:00 am or before 3:30 pm) or about 44 minutes during peak hours (between 3:30 pm and 07:30 pm).

Does Atlanta have the worst traffic?

Some people would say that it certainly feels like it when you’re sitting in your car on I-75N or I-85S. However, when we investigated what other major cities across America were facing, we found that Atlanta only ranks #10 when it comes to cost and length of time spent stuck in traffic.

The US Census Bureau calculates this by estimating how many hours a person spends commuting each year. When we crunched those numbers for all major metropolitan areas with more than 500,000 employees, Atlanta ranked number 8 for hours spent commuting at nearly 70 hours per year.

To put that into perspective, New York came out on top at just over 104 hours, and Chicago was not far behind at 100+ hours.

Is it safe to drive through Atlanta on I 75 highway?

While you may be tempted to think that when rush hour rolls around, you should stay home, the best time to drive through Atlanta is when everyone else is doing it as well.

Many people commute from the northern suburbs (such as Cobb) south towards DeKalb or Fulton county jobs. While it can be extremely frustrating when traffic starts building up, what would make things worse is if nobody had a job. The entire central metro area would grind to a halt if no one could get out each day for work. 

How long does it take to get through Atlanta in rush hour?

Depending on when you’re commuting, it can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to drive from Gwinnett or Cobb county down south through the city and into DeKalb or Fulton.

As usual, when driving in traffic, the worst thing you can do is follow a car too closely behind them as they brake when traffic starts slowing down – this causes a chain reaction back up the highway. Just keep calm and let all of those people merge ahead of you.


When planning your trip around Atlanta during rush hour, remember that two major highways run through Atlanta (I-75N and I-85S). If possible, try to leave early because things get backed up when both merge at Spaghetti Junction. 

If you happen to be passing through when people are commuting home, remember to stay at least two car lengths behind when driving so that when somebody ahead of you brakes, you have enough time and distance to stop as well.

Also, remember that when traffic starts slowing down, it takes a long time for the entire highway to come to a complete stand-still – typically about 20 minutes or more. The best thing is to continue driving as smoothly as possible (and never following too closely behind!), and eventually, you’ll make it out onto another interstate ramp.

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