How Bad Is Fort Worth Traffic?

Fort Worth ranks 37th in the US for worst traffic, and drivers can expect to spend an average of 39 hours per year stuck in traffic.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Fort Worth
traffic can be some of the worst in the US with drivers experiencing an average loss of 39 hours to traffic jams every year. This statistic places
fifth-largest city at #37 on the list of US cities with the worst traffic.
Fort Worth is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US—its population has nearly doubled since 2000, and it’s still growing. This means the notoriously bad traffic is only going to get worse.
Whether you’re planning a move or a visit to Fort Worth, you need to know the ins and outs of traffic in Texas’ fourth-worst city for traffic, and
car insurance
comparison and broker app
is here to help.  
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Fort Worth traffic, including the pandemic’s effects on driving trends and tips on how to avoid the worst times for traffic.
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How bad is Fort Worth traffic?

There are certain categories that you really just don’t want to win in, and worst traffic is one of them. Unfortunately, Fort Wort is a pretty strong contender in this category, ranking #37, on the
2021 Global Traffic Scorecard
. Studies indicate that Fort Worth drivers lose an average of 39 hours per year to traffic congestion.
In 2021, Fort Worth drivers experienced an average traffic congestion rate of 17%, which meant the average road trip took 17% longer than usual. This was up from 2020, in which the average was only 15% due to COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. However, it’s still not as high as the pre-COVID numbers from 20119, in which the average traffic congestion rate was 19%. 

Why is Fort Worth traffic so bad?

A lot of factors contribute to traffic congestion, including population density, infrastructure, and individual driving habits. Here are a few reasons Fort Worth’s traffic gets so bad.

Population size 

When you’re looking at Fort Worth’s population, you have to realize you’re not looking at Fort Worth alone. Fort Worth is just one part of the tri-city metroplex designated Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington that holds the honor of being the economic and cultural hub of North Texas. 
As of 2020, the Metroplex’s population was over 7.5 million, making it the most populous metropolitan area in both Texas and the Southern United States.

Major chokepoints

Four major highways converge in Fort Worth: I-20, I-30, I-35, and I-820, but drivers can blame most of their traffic woes on various sections of I-35. The section of I-35 between SH-183 and IH-30 ranks ninth on the list of most congested highways in Texas according to a recent study.
I-35 is home to two additional well-known chokepoints in the Fort Worth area—the stretches between the Alliance Gateway and US/81-287 and from US/81 to 28th Street

Driving habits

With just under one million residents as of the 2020 census, Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in Texas, the thirteenth-largest city in the US, and the fourth most populous metro area in the US. That means a lot of drivers are taking to the roads to do everything from going to work to running errands. 
While Fort Worth has spent millions on public transit initiatives, over 80% of those who commute to work do so alone in a car. That’s hundreds of thousands of drivers on the roads each day, creating congestion and causing traffic jams and delays.
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How to navigate Fort Worth traffic like a pro

Like most major metropolitan areas, Fort Worth experiences traffic patterns. The key to navigating Fort Worth traffic, then, is knowing and working within those patterns. We know this sounds a lot easier than it actually is, so here are a few tips to help you navigate DFW traffic like a pro: 
  • Steer clear of rush hour if possible. Yes, even after COVID, rush hour is still a thing. If anything, it’s worse in Fort Worth now than it was pre-pandemic. Fort Worth’s rush hours run from about 6 am to 9 am and 3 pm to 7 pm. If you can’t completely avoid the roads during these times, at least steer clear of them from 7 to 8 am and 4:30 to 6 pm, when congestion reaches peak levels at 21% and 35%, respectively. 
  • Take side roads when you can. It may seem counterintuitive, but, especially during rush hours, side roads can be much faster than major highways like I-35. 
  • Use a traffic app.
    Google maps
    , and
    all offer apps that allow you to see real-time traffic information with suggestions to avoid traffic snarls. Local news stations in the DFW metro also offer individual apps that support traffic updates.
  • Stay calm, stay focused, and stay back. You’re not going to be able to avoid every traffic jam in the Metroplex, so when you do find yourself stuck, stay calm and avoid distractions like cell phones, loud music, or food. And while it may be tempting to close the distance between you and that Fiat in front of you, leaving space between your car and theirs can mean the difference between getting stuck in a traffic jam and a multi-car pileup.

Prepare for Fort Worth traffic by updating your car insurance

Now that you’re prepared for driving in Fort Worth traffic, you need to
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It can be, especially if you’re not used to Fort Worth’s highway system. However, keeping calm and using a good navigation system should get you through Fort Worth without a hitch.
The best times for driving in Fort Worth are on weekends and before and after rush hour, so before 6 am and after 7 pm during the week. The hours between 10 am and 3 pm see lighter traffic than rush hour, but it’s still heavier than usual.
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