How bad is the traffic in Atlanta?

I’m flying down to Atlanta to visit my parents for a week and will be renting a car for the duration of my stay. I’ve never driven in Atlanta before—what’s the traffic like?

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Answer provided by
Andrea Barrett
Answered on Jun 03, 2022
While Atlanta has a sound public transit system, renting a car is the easiest and most convenient way to get around. But traffic in Atlanta leaves something to be desired. Atlanta takes 10th place among the most congested cities in the United States and 59th globally. On average, drivers lose 53 hours a year to traffic, costing them about $819.96.
Those numbers may be slightly lower from pre-pandemic levels. However, they’ve increased since 2020 as drivers start to return to their typical commutes and public regulations are loosening up.
If you’re hitting the roads in Atlanta, there are a few areas you’ll want to avoid. Three major highways converge in the city: I-20, I-75, and I-85. The 7.5-mile meeting point between I-75 and I-85 is notorious for being one of the worst bottlenecks in the country. You’ll also want to stay clear of the Spaghetti Junction, a flyover highway interchange at the junction of I-85 and I-285. It’s a major hub for truckers, and the traffic there can get pretty nasty.
Avoiding all the traffic hotspots in Atlanta might be a challenge, but you can do your best to stay in the fast lane by following these tips:
  • Check the traffic before you leave
  • Avoid Atlanta rush hour (6am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm)
  • Use your GPS
  • Map out alternate routes, if possible
If you’re planning to hit the road in Atlanta—whether you’re driving through Spaghetti Junction or not—it’s a good idea to update your car insurance policy to ensure it covers you if you’re involved in an accident due to bad traffic.
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