What really is the best time of day to drive in the summer? It might seem like a strange question, but the truth is that every season of the year has conditions which people should take into consideration when choosing the best time to drive.

Probably the most important factor to consider when selecting the best time of day to drive in the summer, or any season for that matter, is the local traffic conditions. Choosing the best time of day to drive in a densely populated area like California can make the difference between sitting in traffic for hours or smoothly coasting along the highway. The peak traffic times in most areas in the United States are between the hours of 7:00AM to 10:00AM and 3:30PM to 7:00PM. If you’re planning on driving to or from work during the summer and you want to avoid rush hour then try to drive before or after the peak traffic times. Working an earlier shift or working later at your place of employment means that you can avoid having to sit in traffic without anything to do. If you are at work, then at least you are being productive and will usually be paid for your time, not many people can say that about being stuck in traffic.  Though, if you can’t work earlier or later during the week then you can save minutes, or in some cases hours, by taking local roads, which are usually less crowed during the summer since many schools are closed for the season.

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Once in a while though you should try to time how long it takes to get to work or school in heavy traffic congestion. If you know how long it will take you to get to your destination in the worst traffic conditions then you can chart how early you have to leave to make it somewhere on time, or at the very least when you can expect to reach your destination. It should be considered common sense, but it better to leave somewhere earlier and drive at a safe and legal speed than try to leave on time, get stuck in traffic, and then feel like you have to speed and piratically set your tires ablaze to make it to your destination on time. Besides, studies have shown that speeding up to twenty miles over the posted speed limit, despite being very illegal and extremely dangerous, will only save someone on average about two minutes.

If you feel more comfortable driving during the day than at night and want to drive at the beginning of the afternoon rush hour time rather than waiting until later then just remember that it tends to remain sunny outside later during the summer.  In places like Santa Monica, California there can still be visible daylight past 8:00PM and later in some areas.

Unfortunately, driving has become a sort of chore for many people because they drive at the wrong time of day. Driving can be a relaxing and peaceful experience, but the key is just finding the right time to drive for you. People claim that they would be less irritated when driving if they could just avoid driving in traffic. It’s a vague answer, but the best time of day to drive in the summer is whenever you feel like you can avoid traffic and drive in a safe and comfortable manner. Naturally, the best time of day to drive during the summer will be different for everybody, but if you follow our tips you can be on your way to really enjoying those moments on the road.

Photo by Keith Walbot

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