How Bad Is Hartford Traffic?

Hartford drivers know just how difficult traffic there can be, justifying the Connecticut town’s ranking as number 62 on TomTom’s list of worst traffic cities.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
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When thinking of Connecticut, bad traffic isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind—but Hartford drivers are quite familiar with the frequent bumper-to-bumper conditions that earned the city the number 62 spot on TomTom’s list of worst-traffic cities in the U.S. 
Hartford is the capital of
Connecticut
and home to world-class galleries, lush gardens, and historic buildings. Once home to literary giants like Mark Twain and iconic campaigners such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, today the city is known by locals as one with a penchant for traffic jams. 
Whether you’re living in Hartford or just planning a trip, understanding traffic patterns of the city is essential. We're here with information regarding traffic statistics, as well as the way the COVID-19 pandemic has affected driving trends. We’ll also provide useful tips for navigating Hartford’s roads.
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How bad is Hartford traffic?

In 2020, Hartford drivers spent an extra 46 hours driving in rush hour traffic over the course of the year. That’s nearly two entire days! Local drivers note that traffic increases greatly in the event of bad weather, an accident, or essentially anything out of the ordinary. 
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected traffic trends, of course, as drivers stayed off of the roads as a result of stay-at-home orders and other social distancing efforts. Traffic rates fell significantly from 2019 to 2020. In 2021, they rose slightly as some sense of normalcy returned, but still haven’t reached pre-pandemic rates.
Year
Hours lost to congestion
2019
83 hours
2020
41 hours
2021
46 hours

Why is Hartford traffic so bad?

A city’s traffic patterns are the result of a variety of factors: population density, the quality of infrastructure, and the driving habits of residents. Combined, these factors contribute to the dense traffic in Hartford.

Population size 

Hartford is home to just over 123,000 residents, but because the city spans about 18 miles, the population is quite dense. Nearly 7,000 people live in each square mile. As population density rises, vehicle usage rises as well. 

Major chokepoints

Notable high-traffic spots around town include Main St, Broad St, Sigourney St, Park St, and Market St. During rush hour especially, these areas can be bumper-to-bumper. 

Driving habits

Most people in Hartford drive to work alone and spend an average of 21.8 minutes driving one way. A lack of carpooling obviously puts more cars on the road, as does the fact that so few Connecticut residents use public transportation—only about 5% rely on the city’s buses.
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How to navigate Hartford traffic like a pro

Traffic can cause more than a mere headache—it also greatly increases your chances of getting into an accident. A car accident—even a small one—can mean significant damage, injury, and even an increase in your car insurance rates. 
Therefore, it’s incredibly important to avoid traffic-associated risks when driving around Hartford. Fortunately, there are several ways you can keep you and your car safe:
  • Avoid driving during rush hour whenever possible. Generally, rush hour in Hartford occurs between the hours of 7:00 am and 9:00 am and again between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
  • Do your best to stay off major highways as well as busy city roads. Taking back roads whenever possible may feel like you’re “going out of the way,” but it could be worth it if it means avoiding backed-up traffic. 
  • Carpool or take public transportation if possible. That way, you won’t be contributing to the traffic problems.
  • Stay informed using your car’s radio and traffic apps. Radio stations like 1410 AM and 100.9 FM provide real-time traffic updates, including information about construction, accidents, and all other delays. Your favorite map app on your smartphone can also provide similar information, keeping you informed before getting behind the wheel.
  • Always stay focused and avoid common distractions like texting, eating, and loud music or podcasts. If you take your eyes off the road—especially in high traffic—you risk rear-ending the car in front of you, or worse. 

Prepare for Hartford traffic by updating your car insurance

Of course, driving in traffic is often unavoidable—which means you’ll need to protect your car (and your wallet) with a quality car insurance policy.
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FAQs

Hartford residents note that traffic can get quite dense and frustrating, especially when there’s an accident, bad weather, or other unforeseen circumstances. Make sure to use your smartphone’s navigational app to get around town and to stay informed about any real-time traffic jams.
The best time to drive around Hartford is in the early morning or late evening, outside of the typical rush hours.
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