Traffic in LA and How to Avoid Rush Hour

The traffic situation in Los Angeles, California, is not pretty.

We’re stating the obvious here, but outsiders may not have a clear picture of what traffic looks like in LA besides hearing about it many times.

So what is the traffic like in the City of Angels, like raw data?

Well, overall, LA enjoys the 37th spot among the world’s most congested cities. Back home, it takes fifth place. If you’re wondering what these stats really mean out on the city’s freeways, wonder no more.

One transportation analytics firm revealed that the average driver in the LA metro area loses 45 hours every year to congestion, which translates to over $600 worth of lost time.

If you’re wondering how to avoid getting stuck in the Los Angeles traffic gridlocks, read on.

The most obvious way to avoid LA’s frustrating congestion is to avoid peak hours. Keep in mind that at the worst times, you could sit in traffic for hours just crawling along at a snail’s pace.

You can avoid all that trouble by planning your day around the infamous rush hour times so that you don’t get caught up in a jam.

Usually, there’s crazy congestion from around 7.00 am to 9.30 am when the city is awake, and everyone’s heading out for the day. From around 9.30 am to about 3.30 pm, the traffic flow is generally good as there aren’t as many vehicles on the roads. Sometime around 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm, the traffic flow stalls again.

If you can skip the rush hour by setting out before it begins and after it’s over, you’ll have an easy time on LA’s roads.

  • Avoid Certain Freeways

Honestly, some of LA’s freeways may seem like roads to hell and must be avoided if you really don’t have time to spare. The I-5 is a nightmare during the afternoon rush hour — it’s no wonder it’s ranked the most congested freeway in the nation.

The 101 and 110 freeways are not good either. Drivers on these roads lose up to 19 hours a year stuck in traffic. But that’s not as bad as the 80 hours you lose on the I-5.

If you can also avoid the northbound 405 freeway during the afternoon rush hour, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time.

Lest we forget, you also want to avoid the I-10 at around 4.00 pm until the rush hour is over.

  • Ride Public Transit

We know driving is a lot more convenient than public transport but if you don’t want the frustration of the LA rush hour, take the Metro train. It’ll cost you less time and money, with the only issue being making your way to the various stations.

We suggest using Uber or Lyft for short trips to the nearest subway. After all, those guys know the city like the palm of their hands. If there’s anyone who would know which routes to avoid during rush hours, it’s the rideshare drivers.

However, be careful with reckless rideshare drivers who would do anything to avoid the traffic. Remember, rideshare accidents happen, and they take place in busy urban areas.

  • Use Navigation Systems

You don’t have to suffer traffic gridlocks when technology has placed solutions on your hands.

You can use various navigation systems to determine which routes are worth taking to avoid wasting time on the road.

Sites like Sigalert have real-time traffic reports for whatever city you’re in. You get to browse the map and check for accidents, delays, and other conditions on the freeways.

Waze is also a good app available on both android and iPhone devices. It can help you monitor traffic information in real-time and reroute you to more accessible roads.

  • Try Walking

If you can hit the streets on foot, you should probably do so and avoid congested roads. Los Angeles might be the perfect place to drive, but the pedestrian culture is still a huge part of the city’s vibe.

Besides, you’re better off walking if you’re going through downtown LA than driving. You won’t need to walk all the way to your destination, just to the closest Metro station.


It’s well known that rush hours in Los Angeles are nerve-wracking, to say the least, but they are avoidable. Once you know how the city works, it becomes easier to navigate it. Hopefully, our tips will come in handy.


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