How Bad Is Orlando Traffic?

Orlando ranks 134th among the most congested cities in the U.S., only costing drivers an additional nine hours of drive time each year.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
According to a recent study, despite incessant interstate construction and traffic congestion, Orlando is one of the most driver-friendly cities in the United States, ranking 134th and only costing drivers nine hours annually.
Orlando, Florida
is home to one of the most popular amusement parks and tourist destinations in the world—Walt Disney World. If you’ve never driven through Orlando, don’t let the talk fool you. Although there’s ever-present interstate construction and congestion, Orlando is pretty driver-friendly compared to other big cities. 
But just because it has a good infrastructure and the city is investing $2.3 billion into the
I-4 Ultimate Project
doesn’t mean it is completely without traffic.
car insurance super app
is here to break down everything you need to know about traffic in Orlando. We’ll cover what affects roadways here and how to navigate O-Town like a pro. 

How bad is Orlando traffic?

2021 Urban Mobility Report
found that the average commuter in Orlando spent a whopping 61 hours in traffic in 2019. That’s since decreased to just 22 hours in 2020 and nine hours in 2021. 
Other statistics from
place Orlando as No. 134 among the most congested cities in the U.S. Not too shabby! Even still, traffic costs commuters an average of $133.01 each year.
Heavy traffic occurs more frequently around Orlando than in decades past, meaning no matter where you go, you’re sure to hit some. But the fact is Orlando’s traffic is nothing compared to other cities of similar size. Guess “the happiest place on Earth” thing checks out!
Hours lost to congestion
57 hours
22 hours
9 hours
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Why is Orlando traffic so bad?

A growing population is one reason that Orlando experiences congestion on roadways. But that’s too simplistic to explain the whole picture. 
In general, congestion is the result of several factors such as population, the city’s infrastructure, and individual driving habits. Here are some of the main reasons why Orlando traffic could be getting worse.

Heavy tourism

Every child wants to visit The Magic Kingdom, which means major roadblocks for residents of Orlando. Millions of tourists flock to Disney on a yearly basis, making Orlando one of the busiest vacation spots in Florida. And between out-of-state drivers and rubberneckers looking to catch a glimpse, the roads start to become more dangerous. 

Rush hour

Rush hour is one of the major contributors to traffic congestion in Orlando. To avoid getting stuck in a snakepit, it’s best to stay off the road at peak times. In Orlando, that means: 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., 11:00 to 12:00 p.m., 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. That’s a whole six hours of traffic daily—the same amount of time as it would take you to watch all three Rush Hour movies. 
Of the congested roadways in Orlando, Interstate 4 takes the cake—it’s claimed the title of the most dangerous interstate for several years in a row. Along with I-4, there’s also I-275 in downtown Tampa. If the out-of-state drivers and excessive speeds weren’t bad enough, the dodgy infrastructure of I-4 can’t seem to keep up with Orlando’s growing population. 
At peak, a mile drive can take up to 60 minutes to travel, solely because there are so many cars trying to enter the freeway from three main arteries. 
Some of the major traffic hotspots you’ll want to avoid are:
  • I-4
  • Route 17-92
  • Taft-Vineland Lane
  • General Drive
  • Route 535
  • Palm Parkway
  • East Colonial Drive
  • Semoran Boulevard

Economic growth

Orlando has already undergone a huge economic boom and job growth is projected at 51% over the next 10 years. All that to say, road traffic is going to increase exponentially. A growing economy without updating infrastructure could lead to overcrowded roads and more accidents. 
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How to navigate Orlando traffic like a pro

Although Orlando traffic has improved over the last couple of years, you’re still bound to run into out-of-staters visiting Disney World or beach-goers headed toward the coast. But when you know how to navigate Orlando like a pro, whizzing by the traffic jams shouldn’t be a problem. 
If you aren’t interested in dealing with the hassle of the I-4, avoiding the highways during high-volume hours is your best bet. Spare yourself the road rage and stress! Several news stations like WFTV 9 also provide
live traffic maps
to help make your drive quicker and smoother. 
Avoiding traffic completely may be unrealistic, but here are some tips to help you drive safely through Orlando: 
  • Skip rush hour. If you drive into the city for work, head out before rush hour starts. That way, you’re not stuck alongside crazy amounts of commuters trying to get in or out of town—not to mention that accidents are at an all-time high during rush hour.
  • Map your routes. If you know traffic is bad on the I-4 or you’re aware of a local road closure, be prepared by finding alternate routes before you head out. If you’re able to take the side roads, you can skip the headaches. 
  • Stay focused. A lot of traffic jams are made worse by people gawking. 
  • Don’t be a rubbernecker if you see something on the road. Look forward and pay attention to your driving; looking elsewhere will only slow traffic further and increase your risk of getting into an accident. 
  • Tune into your local news. Flip on your local news station and stay up to date on the latest traffic conditions in Orlando.
    WOKV 690 AM / 104.5 FM NewsTalk
    WDBO Orlando's News & Talk 580 AM / 107.3 FM
    offer all the latest news, weather, sports, and traffic in Orlando. 

Prepare for Orlando traffic by updating your car insurance

Getting stuck in traffic jams may increase your commute time, but it also increases the risk of traffic accidents due to distracted driving. If you want to protect yourself when you’re behind the wheel, it’s important to make sure you have the right
car insurance
Licensed broker and car super app
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Once you find a policy that works for you, Jerry’s team of experts will take care of getting everything set up so you can hit the road in the Sunshine State knowing you’re fully protected.
The average Jerry user saves $887 a year on car insurance! 
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While Orlando may be ranked as one of the most driver-friendly cities in the U.S., residents don’t tend to agree. Rush hour is brutal. On top of that, out-of-towners abound, which is a recipe for accidents. Your best bet is to use a hands-free GPS to avoid traffic hotspots and navigate the fastest route.
As with most big cities, rush hour tends to be the worst time to drive in Orlando. That means hitting the roads on weekdays before 7:30 a.m., after 6:30 p.m., or between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. will allow for the easiest travel.
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