How bad is the traffic in LA?

My best friend moved to LA and I’m going to be visiting her for two weeks. We’d love to rent a car and explore the area, but I’m nervous about driving because I’ve heard nightmares about driving. How’s the traffic in LA?

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Answer provided by
Andrea Barrett
Answered on Jun 03, 2022
Los Angeles is an incredible city—but it doesn’t have the best reputation for driving. Los Angeles ranks in 6th place for U.S. cities with the worst traffic, and it’s 33rd worst worldwide. According to Inrix, the average commuter in the LA metro area spends 62 hours a year in congestion, costing drivers $967.72 in lost time.
In 2017, LA ranked first for the cities with the worst traffic congestion, with drivers losing more than 102 hours a year to congestion. However, congestion has improved, albeit minimally.
Your best bet for saving time in traffic is to avoid LA rush hour—it’s some of the worst in the country. Rush hour on the freeways in LA is heaviest during the morning and evening commutes and occurs from roughly 7 am–10 am and 4 pm–7 pm.
On weekend nights, traffic is bad heading into or out of downtown LA and Hollywood. When the freeways are gridlocked, check out the alternate routes to get to your destination.
If you want to avoid LA traffic, here are some tips:
  • Avoid rush hour
  • Map out (and drive) alternate routes into or out of the city
  • Alter your driving time
  • Check the traffic reports before you leave
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