What Are the Worst Traffic Times in San Francisco?
February 14th, 2023|
Originally posted March 15, 2021
San Francisco sees some of the heaviest traffic in the U.S. In fact, the Bay Area has the 7th worst traffic in the nation, according to INRIX, a company that provides location-based data and analytics.
INRIX determined that San Francisco commuters spent an average of 64 hours sitting in traffic in 2021. While the onset of COVID dramatically reduced traffic in the city, the average time spent commuting has continued to increase since then, and is starting to trend towards pre-COVID levels, which had peaked at around an average of 90 hours. If you’re one of the many commuters in the city, then you might be wondering what’s the best time to get on the road (and avoid getting stuck in the dreaded San Francisco traffic).
The good news is that it’s not unpredictable! We’ve managed to pin down some of the worst traffic times in San Francisco so you can plan around them. The bad news is that you might not be able to completely avoid these congested times of the day.
Read on to help plan your San Francisco commutes, and to learn more about how Berg Injury Lawyers can help if you get in an accident caused by a negligent driver.
WHAT RESEARCH SAYS ABOUT THE WORST TRAFFIC TIMES IN SAN FRANCISCO
In general, traffic peaks in San Francisco on Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., according to the city’s own estimates. The Urban Mobility Report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute agrees to some extent, finding that the period between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday sees the most traffic congestion.
This makes sense, as these are common “rush hour” times. However, other studies have suggested that different times of the day also present heavy congestion on our roads. Zendrive found that 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. was the worst period of the day for traffic in San Francisco.
Where you’re located and where you’re headed can also impact your travel times in the Bay Area. For example, if you’re headed north on Interstate 680 over the Sunol Grade, rush hour can start as early as 2 p.m. and last until 8 p.m.
To some extent, the data tells us what we already know: traffic in San Francisco can be brutal. However, if you can avoid traveling during the afternoon rush hour and plan your route wisely, you might be able to shave off collective hours from the annual amount of time you spend behind the wheel.
Frustrated by traffic? Learn 6 simple tips for dealing with Bay Area traffic.
CHALLENGES POSED BY SAN FRANCISCO’S HEAVY TRAFFIC
Congested roads take a toll on the Bay Area in more ways than just frustration. First, there’s the potential “congestion pricing program” the city is considering. If implemented, drivers entering downtown and South of Market could be charged a fee in an effort to reduce the number of cars in these areas.
Second, those hours lost in traffic delays have an economic impact. INRIX estimates that the total annual economic cost of sitting in traffic is $1,348 per driver in the U.S. That’s because sitting in traffic jams digs into office hours, not to mention it subtracts from available recreational hours spent with loved ones or finding time to relax.
And, of course, heavy traffic and the frazzled nerves that come with it can put drivers at greater risks of being involved in certain types of crashes, including rear-end collisions and distracted driving accidents.
If you’re enjoying this article, you might also be interested in: What Are the Worst Traffic Times in Sacramento?
IF YOU NEED A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY IN SAN FRANCISCO, GET BERG!
At Berg Injury Lawyers, our San Francisco car accident lawyers know how bad traffic can get. Not only do we also travel congested roads on the way into our many offices in Northern California, we represent clients who get severely injured in Bay Area car accidents.
We know the law, and we know what it takes to fight for the compensation our clients deserve. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation, contact our San Francisco personal injury lawyers anytime to get started.
To learn more about traffic in California, check out the following resources: