How Bad Is Cincinnati Traffic?

Cincinnati traffic causes drivers to lose 13 hours each year, making Cincinnati the 85th-worst U.S. city for traffic.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Mar 23, 2023
Cincinnati drivers lose around 13 hours to traffic each year, which makes it No. 85 among U.S. cities with the worst traffic. Not bad! However, Cincy ranks No. 18 for cities with bad traffic with less than 3 million people.
Cincinnati, Ohio is one of America’s best midsize cities and has something for just about everyone: sports, museums, theaters, universities, architecture, food—the list goes on. Along with all of that variety, however, comes a downside—traffic.
How bad is traffic in Cincinnati, really? Well, despite it being the third-largest city in Ohio, it has the worst traffic. Yikes! The No. 1-rated
car insurance
is here to go over all the details, from traffic statistics to navigation tips, so you can hit the road worry-free. As a bonus, we'll show you how to save on your
Cincinnati car insurance costs

How bad is Cincinnati traffic?

2021 Global Traffic Scorecard
—a huge international study of traffic data—reported that Cincinnati is the 85th-most congested city in the United States. Cincinnati drivers were estimated to have lost 13 hours in traffic last year, costing them an average of $198 per year. 
Pre-COVID, Cincinnati drivers lost 19 hours to traffic. However, with fewer restrictions and workers heading back to in-person jobs recently, Cincinnati traffic is quickly bouncing back to its regular patterns of congestion.

Why is Cincinnati traffic so bad?

Congestion is caused by a multitude of factors, often including a city’s population, infrastructure, and driving trends. Here’s a look at what makes Cincinnati traffic so rough. 

Driving habits  

Cincinnati is known to have some of the worst drivers in Ohio—and America as a whole. According to a
2019 report
, Cincinnati drivers are involved in a car accident every 7.7 years on average; the national average is every 10 years. Nothing causes a traffic jam quicker than car accidents, and these seem to be more frequent on Cincinnati roads. 

Major chokepoints

Despite being a midsize city, Cincinnati has three of the top 100 worst bottlenecks in America, holding its own with big traffic cities like
Augusta, Georgia
, and
Houston, Texas
. In fact, the I-71 at I-75 convergence is the second-worst chokehold in all of the U.S. Meanwhile, I-75/I-71 at I-275 sits at No. 24, and I-75 at I-74 is ranked No. 81. 
For a smaller city with this many bottlenecks, traffic is sure to get backed up.  

Road construction

As Cincinnati grows, the Ohio Department of Transportation has been working steadily to increase lanes and remedy the major congestion points, especially on I-75. While this will fare well for drivers in the future, constant road construction causes lane shutdowns and traffic jams for the time being. 
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever

How to navigate Cincinnati traffic like a pro

Heavy congestion might all but make you lose your mind on the road. Unfortunately, it can also lead to a higher frequency of collisions. And road rage can impact your insurance costs
Ohio fatal crash rates this year are projected to be up from last year’s count of 252. But even non-fatal car accidents can do serious damage—to your car, body, and wallet. What’s worse, car wrecks can
cause your insurance rates to increase
Despite the factors making Cincinnati traffic so insufferable, there are ways to navigate around congestion, avoid traffic accidents, and protect your wallet. Here are some key tips to getting around Cincinnati traffic with less friction:
  • Try to drive during off-times. Rush hour in Cincinnati starts hot and heavy around 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Then, the afternoon rush lasts from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. If you can, avoid hitting the highway during these times of major congestion. 
  • Utilize back roads when possible. Interstates like I-75 can get severely backed up during rush hours. If you can’t avoid driving at that time, try to use more city streets and back roads instead of hitting the highway.
  • Check a traffic app to stay on top of traffic. Traffic apps like Waze offer real-time traffic updates, so you can route around any accidents, construction sites, or other obstacles on your drive.
  • Stay focused. No one can avoid traffic jams all the time, so when you get stuck in one, it’s imperative to be alert. That means keeping
    like podcasts, snacks, or music to a minimum. Stay off your phone and always leave room between you and other cars. 

Prepare for Cincinnati traffic by updating your car insurance

With Cincinnati’s reputation for road congestion and not-so-great drivers, it’s probably a good idea to update your car insurance policy. That way, you can be sure you’re covered for any type of accident arising from bad traffic. But you don’t need to overpay for great insurance!
Traffic may be a hassle, but insurance shopping doesn't have to be. When you use
, the
trustworthy insurance comparison app
, you can gain access to personalized quotes sourced from over 50 top providers in just 45 seconds. Jerry’s team of experts will help you sign up for your new policy instantly—with no phone calls, tedious forms, or wait times. 
Plus, Jerry users save an average of $800+ a year! 
“When using
, I just put in a bit of information, and they found lots of different quotes for me. I was paying $305 a month for two brand-new cars, but now I’m paying $150 a month for both with full coverage!” —Robin U.
Let Jerry find your price in only 45 seconds
No spam · No long forms · No fees
Find insurance savings (100% Free)
Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free