How Bad is Raleigh Traffic

Traffic in Raleigh, North Carolina is especially bad if you have to commute during rush hour.
Written by Sean Boehme
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Traffic in
isn’t too extreme, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to work from home. With that said, more and more people move to Raleigh and the surrounding area every year, so you can still expect a fair share of rush hour traffic. 
Raleigh and a few surrounding cities make up an area known as the Research Triangle. In recent years, the Research Triangle has become quite the hot spot for young professionals. While this influx of residents has certainly helped the area thrive economically, it has also made traffic conditions considerably worse.
For the ins and outs on traffic in Raleigh, including why there is so much and how to avoid it, check out this guide compiled by the
car insurance
super app

How bad is Raleigh traffic?

If you compare Raleigh to other east-coast cities such as New York, Washington, or Atlanta, it doesn’t seem that bad. Even when compared to Charlotte, North Carolina, drivers in Raleigh have it pretty easy.
Even if traffic isn’t terrible in Raleigh, commuting is still a pain, and you shouldn’t expect wide open roads if you live or work there. Here is a look at how many hours drivers in Raleigh lose to traffic every year,
according to TomTom
Hours lost to congestion
95 hours
50 hours
51 hours
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Why is Raleigh traffic so bad?

There are a few factors that contribute to the overall traffic conditions in a city, ranging from the number of people living there to the roads and infrastructure itself. Here are some reasons that the roads get so crowded in the Research Triangle. 

New Residents

Although Raleigh’s population remains under half of a million, the area continues to grow as many people
from out-of-state move
there. As those people continue to acclimate to the roads and area, it’s no surprise that driving is on the slow side.


The Research Triangle is home to three major universities: Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina, and Chapel Hill. These three schools have a combined enrollment that easily surpasses 50,000 students, and that figure only includes undergraduates.
Because of the universities in the Research Triangle, traffic tends to be even worse during the
school year

Distance to work

Proximity to the workplace isn’t all that important for some when deciding where to live, and for that reason, people who work in Raleigh might not even live close by. With people commuting from farther, the result is more cars on the road for longer. 


As with any area, there are some roads within Raleigh and the Research Triangle that seem to be crowded no matter when you drive on them. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and West Morgan Street are two prime examples of chokepoints you want to avoid. 
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How to navigate Raleigh traffic like a pro

If you’re constantly stuck in traffic, boredom and gas prices aren’t the only things you have to worry about. Stop-and-go traffic is a major cause of collisions and accidents
Even if you get into a minor accident, it could still mean a lot of stress and headaches. Outside of dealing with repairs for your vehicle, it’s pretty likely that
your insurance rates
are going to rise after a crash. To combat this possibility, you should avoid heavy traffic as much as possible. 
You won’t be able to avoid 100% of traffic if you live in Raleigh, but here are some
driving tips
that should help reduce how much time you spend behind the wheel:
  • Avoid rush hour: It may be easier said than done, but avoiding rush hour will guarantee you have shorter travel times. In Raleigh, the two rush hour periods run from 7-9 am and 4-6 pm
  • Keep up to date with traffic: Using navigation apps is a great way to keep up to date with traffic in your area, and you can also listen to radio stations such as 98.5 FM or 106.1 FM
  • Take back roads: Once you have lived in Raleigh for a while, you can start figuring out which chokepoints you need to avoid and how you can do it. 

Prepare for Raleigh traffic by updating your car insurance

If you live in Raleigh or you plan to visit, don’t be surprised if you have to sit through some heavy traffic. If you want to be prepared for all the congestion, the best thing you can do is revisit your
car insurance
using Jerry.
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On average, Jerry users save $887 a year on car insurance payments. 
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Traffic in Raleigh and the surrounding area isn’t too bad, especially when compared to some of the bigger cities on the east coast. With that said, you should try to avoid rush hour if you’re worried about congested roads.
To avoid Raleigh’s rush hour you should be on the road before 7 am, after 6 pm, or sometime between 10 am and 3 pm.
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