How Bad Is Nashville Traffic?

Nashville’s traffic is ranked No. 54 for U.S. cities with the worst traffic, costing drivers about 16 hours and $253 per year.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Nashville drivers lose about 16 hours to traffic each year, according to a recent study—which makes Tennessee’s capital No. 54 among U.S. cities with the worst traffic. 
Nashville, Tennessee is known as the Music City, with legendary venues galore. Also home to several universities, two professional sports teams, top-notch museums, and a lively cultural scene, it’s no wonder people are flocking to Nashville from all over. It’s also why the city’s traffic has become notoriously awful. 
How bad is it, really? No. 1-rated
car insurance
is here to lead you through the ins and outs of Tennessee’s worst traffic. We’ll go over traffic statistics in Nashville, COVID-19’s impact on driving trends, and tips for navigating Music City’s nonstop congestion. As a bonus, we'll show you how to save on your
Nashville car insurance costs

How bad is Nashville traffic?

2021 Global Traffic Scorecard
—a massive international report of traffic trends—ranked Nashville as the 54th-most congested city in the United States. Analysts have determined that Nashville drivers lose an average of 16 hours a year to congestion, costing about $253 per driver.  
These numbers are significantly lower than in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as drivers resume regular commutes and tourists hit the streets in droves, Nashville traffic is quickly snapping back to its regular congestion.
Hours lost to congestion
36 hours
16 hours
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare and find out in 45 seconds.
Find Savings!
No long forms. No spam calls. Free Quotes.
4.7/5 App Store Rating, 8,100+ Reviews
Trusted by 1.5+ Million Customers.
rating primary

Why is Nashville traffic so bad?

Traffic is caused by a number of factors, most often including a city’s population, driving habits, and infrastructure. Let’s look at some of the reasons Nashville’s traffic is so terrible. 

Population size 

As Tennessee’s largest city and America’s 21st largest city, the Nashville metropolitan area is home to about 690,000 people—and this number is growing rapidly. Around 80% of Nashville commuters drive their own car, and that doesn’t include the tens of thousands of visitors on the road each year. This many cars alone will certainly lead to traffic jams and delays.

Major bottlenecks

Between I-24, I-40, I-65, and I-440, Nashville is home to four of the top 100 worst bottlenecks in the U.S., with I-24/I-40 at I-440 eastbound being the worst in the city. These chokeholds hold up traffic daily in Nashville, backing up vehicles for miles at a time.

Poor infrastructure

Nashville’s population has grown too rapidly for infrastructure improvements to keep up. City plans that were relevant 30 years ago still rule the roost, leaving drivers sitting in their cars for hours each day. 
Road construction is also a constant in the city, though it’s more often for repairs rather than expansions. 
Make safe driving pay
Get rewarded for safe driving. Earn points and unlock benefits. Totally free.
Start earning now

How to navigate Nashville traffic like a pro

Nashville’s traffic and constant delays are enough for anyone to
lose their cool
. Plus, congestion can lead to more traffic accidents. 
Tennessee Department of Transportation
reports that traffic fatalities are on the rise in the Volunteer State. But even non-fatal crashes can cause major damage—to cars, bodies, and wallets. They could even drive up your
insurance rates
Despite these concerning traffic trends, there are ways to avoid Nashville’s congestion and keep yourself—and your wallet—safe. Here are some helpful tips to follow if you want to zip through Nashville’s roads like a local.  
  • Avoid rush hour when possible. Nashville’s rush hours run from around 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.—though these times vary depending on the day. Try to stay off the roads during this heavy congestion to save your sanity. 
  • Use back roads when you can. Interstates may seem like the fastest way to drive through Nashville, but that’s not the case during rush hour. You could save time and gas by using city streets and lesser-traveled highways whenever possible.  
  • Find a reliable traffic app to avoid the unexpected. Apps like Waze will identify any traffic jams or obstacles like construction or accidents on your route in real-time, so you can always choose the quickest route and know what to expect.
  • Stay alert. Sitting in traffic jams is boring, but employing
    like snacks, loud music, or your phone can lead to accidents or citations. Remember to drive smart and always leave enough distance between you and the car in front of you!

Prepare for Nashville traffic by updating your car insurance

Your chances of being in an accident in Nashville are higher than the national average, so it’s a smart idea to update your car insurance policy if you live or drive in Music City. That way, you can make sure you’re covered in the event of a fender bender. 
, finding an affordable policy is easier than ever. As the
trustworthy insurance comparison app
, Jerry will scan quotes from over 50 name-brand insurers in minutes, so you can use your time to map out the best route from Franklin to East Nashville. 
When you find your best policy option, Jerry’s team of experts can get you signed up for new insurance—all without phone calls, long wait times, or unnecessary forms. Plus, the average Jerry user saves $887 a year
“I felt like I was paying too much for my insurance policy, so I downloaded
. I literally only typed in three pieces of info and Jerry found my current insurance. In a few minutes, they pulled up two Progressive policies that showed $900 in savings over six months!” —Maeve J.
rating reverse-full
"I’m earning
awesome rewards
every week, just for driving safe!”


Driving in Nashville is pretty straightforward if you don’t have to worry about traffic and keep your GPS navigation handy. Nashville drivers aren’t the best, though, so stay extra alert if you’re driving here for the first time.
If you want to avoid major congestion, try to drive through Nashville during the middle of the day—sometime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
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