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What Time is Traffic the Worst in San Diego?
San Diego Living

icon/user/avatar/20 Created with Sketch. By Travis Triggs

If you drive in San Diego, you know that certain times of day can mean sitting bumper-to-bumper in congested traffic. But exactly what times should you avoid getting behind the wheel if you want to skip the worst of the gridlock? Here's a look at when San Diego traffic is at its worst.


Weekday Mornings

Traffic starts building as early as 6 AM and continues through the morning rush hour from 7-9 AM on weekdays. Key freeway arteries like Interstates 5, 805, and 15 going both north/south and east/west are parking lots. Surface streets and bridges heading downtown are also jammed. Allow extra time if commuting to work or school.


Friday Afternoons

Fridays often see especially heavy traffic starting around 2 PM as people head out early for the weekend. Fridays are also popular nights to go out, so traffic builds earlier downtown and in neighborhoods like Pacific Beach and Hillcrest.


Weekday Afternoons/Evenings

The evening commute creates bumper-to-bumper traffic from around 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM on major commuter routes like I-5, I-15, and I-8. Delays can also happen where freeways intersect, like I-5 and I-805 near Sorrento Valley.

Padres Game Days


Traffic in the Downtown/Barrio Logan area is at a standstill for several hours before and after Padres games at Petco Park. Game days also clog up the Coronado Bridge.

Beach Areas on Hot Days


Ocean breezes draw big crowds to San Diego beaches when temperatures spike. Expect heavy congestion on roads like Mission Blvd in Pacific Beach, La Jolla Blvd, and N. Torrey Pines Rd. Parking is also scarce.


Planning around San Diego's worst traffic times or considering alternative transport like public transit, ride sharing, or cycling can help you bypass the jams. With savvy timing, checking traffic apps, and flexible plans, you can largely avoid the worst of the gridlock.

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