Everything You Need To Know About Driving in Miami

Miami is known for its traffic, but if you’re familiar with the grid system it’s easier to navigate.
Written by Sara Brody
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
As a major southeastern city, Miami, Florida is known for its white-sand beaches, warm climate, and, unfortunately, its traffic. The worst times to drive in Miami are from 7:00 am to 9:00 am (if you’re going south) and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm (if you’re going north).
From its vibrant Cuban culture to its varied cuisines and natural beauty, Miami is a gem of the American Southeast. And with almost 500,000 residents in a city that isn’t consistently walkable, you can also expect a lot of drivers on the road.
Whether you’re a Miami local or just passing through to enjoy the beaches, we can help you navigate Miami’s busy roads. We’ll cover traffic conditions, local driving laws, and ways you can prepare for driving in the Magic City.
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What is driving in Miami like?

Even though Miami is famous for its white-sand beaches, it has less of a glowing reputation when it comes to driving. Out of 100 major American cities, Miami was rated 65th for its heavy traffic, with locals spending up to 65 hours per year caught in gridlock. 
In addition to these driving drawbacks, here are some other elements to expect when driving in Miami.


Miami’s streets are built along a developed grid system, the largest in the Southeast. Avenues run north-south while streets run east-west. If you’re acquainted with the grid, it makes navigating Miami much more straightforward, even if not every single street follows the system. 
In addition, there are several major highways in South Florida that might be viable alternatives to driving on city roads. Many residents use I-95 to commute between Miami and Broward County, so you can expect heavy traffic in both directions during rush hour. 
SR 112 is an expressway that runs to the Miami International Airport, while the Palmetto Expressway runs from Kendall to
North Miami Beach
. These are just a few of many highways accessible to Miami drivers but bear in mind that some of them have tolls. 


Street parking in Miami typically costs somewhere between $2 and $4 per hour. In the South Beach Zone south of 23rd Street, rates are typically $4 for street parking and $2 for lots, while streets in the East Middle Beach Zone tend to be $3 per hour. However, the downtown rates are much higher: usually $8, but up to $30 if you wish to park your car for 24 hours in a lot. 
Miami Dade County has vigilant parking enforcement, so make sure you always pay your meter properly to avoid getting stuck with a costly parking ticket. 


Miami is known for its mild winters and hot, wet summers. Here’s what you can expect from the hot and cold seasons in Miami:
  • Summer: The sultry weather attracts both tourists and locals outside in the summer, and you’re sure to see plenty of cars on the road. With a higher risk of extreme summer weather in Miami compared to other places, insurance premiums tend to be high.
  • Winter: Miami’s winters are short, mild, windy, and clear. You should not expect to encounter many extreme weather conditions while driving in Miami in the winter. 
MORE: How to find a parking spot in a city
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Traffic and transportation options in Miami

Since Miami’s streets are consistently in a grid pattern, they tend to be straightforward to navigate—but that doesn’t mean they can’t get congested with drivers. Since gridlock is infamously bad in Miami, you might consider avoiding rush hour if you can. 
Here are the worst times to drive in Miami:
  • 7:00 am to 9:00 am: If you’re trying to go south, the morning rush hour is the slowest time to do so.
  • 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm: If you’re trying to go north, the evening rush hour is the slowest time to do so. 
You can tune in to
News Radio WIOD
for traffic updates in Miami.

Should I rent a car in Miami?

While Miami is one of Florida’s more walkable cities, the best way to get around is still by car. However, renting a car in a big city can have pros and cons—on one hand, having a car makes it easier to explore a place, particularly a city as car-friendly as Miami. But driving in a big city can also increase the risk of accidents, theft, and vandalism—not to mention plain old traffic. 
If you’re visiting Miami and you’d rather get around without a car, there are free public transit options as well as bikeshares, rideshares, and scooter programs available. 
MORE: 7 ways to save money on car rentals

Crime rate in Miami

The crime rate in Miami will also affect your driving experience as well as your
car insurance
The crime rate in Miami is higher than the national average, although at 36 crimes per 1,000 residents it wouldn’t be considered a highly dangerous place either. Some of the safest neighborhoods are Bay Harbor Islands, Coconut Grove, Coral Way, and Kendall. 
However, as a car-centric city, the rate of motor vehicle theft in Miami is one of the highest in the nation. A Miami driver has a one in 272 chance of having their car stolen.

How to find car insurance in Miami

Despite the traffic, it can feel easy to drive on sunny Miami’s orderly grid. Car insurance comparison genius
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