How bad is Atlanta, really?


<font color=CC66CC>Tag Fairy does tags only, the A
Jan 12, 2000
I know it can be really bad but after "talking" to barburka I am thinking about going thru Atlanta on our drive down from WI. My problem is if I leave earlier then planned I hit rush hour in Chicago. If I leave when planned I hit Atlanta at 7 am. I guess what I am asking is it that bad going "around" Atlanta from 75 to 475?? What are the times to avoid.

We never go around Atlanta, we always drive straight through on I-75. If traffic will just cooperate, it's generally faster (there's only one point in the immediate downtown Atlanta area where traffic always seems to grind to a halt). However, rush-hour is another matter altogether - I'd avoid it. If you can stop for a long breakfast or something and pass through Atlanta a couple of hours later you should avoid much of the delays (much better to be stopped over breakfast than in traffic).

A few weeks ago we hit Atlanta shortly after noon, and went through with minimal delay. I haven't been through in mid-morning, so unfortunatly I can't say for sure how it would be then. All I remember from the I-475 bypass (years ago) is that is seemed terribly long (and still very busy).

Have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Atlanta has a great system of warning signs. I use 85, not 75, so I'm not positive they have them there, but I would guess that they do. They will tell you where the wrecks are and what alternate route to take. You may want to pick up an Atlanta map (even a good one in a US atlas will work) so that you understand the warnings a little better.

Traffic in Atlanta can be hideous, but realistically it can happen at any time of day if there's a wreck. I'd advise you to just keep going. You'll make slower time there than you will anywhere else, but unless it's really bad, you'll keep moving.
Rush hour traffic is usually not too bad, especially if you're going thru before 8:30 or 9:00 am. If you can, wait until around 10 am. I live about 60 miles from Atlanta, and usually try to plan my trips after rush hour, because the few times I have gotten stuck.......I thought I was going to pull my hair out! Check the Georgia Department of Transportation Website (dont knowe the address) before you leave, because they have been doing some extensive roadwork recently. Also, a few radio stations that are good on traffic updates: 101.5 FM/Country, 94.1 FM/Pop, nothing lewd or offensive, 96.1/Rock, a bit dicey because ofthe dj's language, and 94.9 /Easy Listening. Hope this helps! Traffic in the ATL is always unpredictable, so my advice is to keep tuned in to the radio.

Doesn't Atlanta have those "more than one person in the car" lanes?

We've driven through at rush hour and non-rush hour and I think I'd avoid Atlanta rush hour at all costs. We sat for what seemed like hours once. It's amazing how there's all that road and nobody moving.
Originally posted by cleo
Doesn't Atlanta have those "more than one person in the car" lanes?

We've driven through at rush hour and non-rush hour and I think I'd avoid Atlanta rush hour at all costs. We sat for what seemed like hours once. It's amazing how there's all that road and nobody moving.

Yes, Atlanta (on I-75 at least, and I presume the other Interstates) has a carpool lane. Although I've seen it get congested (with single occupant vehicles when the other lanes STOP) it usually moves much better.

However, since we are an out of state vehicle when we drive to Florida, are we all eligible to use the carpool lane? We have 2+ persons, but are not strictly a "carpool".
Hi again! What we usually do is leave very early on our first day (Saturday) from Sun Prairie Wisconsin. We drive to the Atlanta area and stay the night. This makes a long day, but it's good to get most of the trip over with. Then the next morning (Sunday), we have about a six hour drive. We usually leave very early about 5-6 am. Last time we drove smack through Atlanta, and the freeway was deserted! We cruised right through! Saw maybe a dozen other cars the whole time! I tell you - 5:30 am on a Sunday morning is the time to go through Atlanta! LOL!!! What day of the week are you leaving DisOrBust?

Weekend traffic is lighter too...especially Sunday if that would fit into your driving schedule.
I check the GA DOT website and it said that as long as there are 2+ people in the car, it doesn't matter if you're out of state or not. I haven't learned yet how to hyper link yet but here are 2 we addresses you could check before you leave home. The 2nd one even shows traffic views (real time) and travel times using various routes.

And they are doing roadwork, but it didn't look like there was any on 75 or 85.
Originally posted by ksumn1
I check the GA DOT website and it said that as long as there are 2+ people in the car, it doesn't matter if you're out of state or not.

That's nice to know for the next time we decide to drive to WDW, Thanks. In addition to better traffic flow, the HOV (carpool) lane avoids some of the multiple lane changes otherwise necesssary in heavy traffic navigating downtown Atlanta.
Hello all! We are leaving Milwaukee "hopefully at 5pm on a Thursday will hopefully get thru Chicago at 7pm. I "guess" Atlanta is 12-13 hrs which means we arrive at Atlanta between 8 and 9am. As some of you know our AAA trip tik has us going thru Alabama instead. I think only because of the traffic around Atlanta. I have a feeling we will be deciding on the "road" which way to go.... Do most take 75 staight thru??? I would think 475 might be better in rush hour.

Barburka say "hello" to your parents! :D
475 has alot of rush hour traffic as there are many businesses and residential areas. It is usually much quicker to go straight though Alanta. One word of caution if you do use the carpool lanes the locals will expect you to go 85-90 mph.
Thanks Beaker! I go the "local" speed just don't give me an "unlocal " ticket!! LOL!
The traffic was bad but what was worse was that the signs on the highway are VERY confusing. For example, our exit was coming up on the right, but the sign was on the very left so I stayed near the left side of the road thinking I would be veering left up ahead. Lo and behold, the exit was on the right and I missed it. Next time I will insist that my DH drive and I will be a second pair of eyes.
Just for your info, I'd say Atlanta was more like 15 hours from Milwaukee, not 12-13. At least, that's what we've found in the past.
Pay attention everyone: I75 goes straight through Atlanta. It has a "carpool" or "HOV-high occupancy vehicle" lane. Your vehicle only needs 2 human occupants (babies count but dogs don't) to use that lane. On 75, you avoid a lot of lane shifting and traffic by using that far left HOV lane.
The road that goes around Atlanta is I285 (not 475). All trucks not making pick ups or deliveries inside 285 (aka the "Perimeter") must use 285 so 285 is filled with many more trucks than 75. There are no HOV lanes on 285. Distance-wise, it is longer to take 285 in either direction than to take 75 straight through Atlanta. Also, 285 has traffic that is just as bad as 75.
Having said all of the above, as you approach Atlanta on 75, there are big lighted signs over the road that you tell you how long it will take to drive to a certain point. The signs also notify you of any accidents and lane closings. If the sign tells you that 75 is closed or a major accident has occured, then consider taking 285, otherwise, stay on 75.
As for I475, that is the road which bypasses Macon. Macon is approximately an hour south of Atlanta. You want to take 475 because 75 detours from a straight line path to Florida to go through Macon. Got it? Any questions?
Thanks Padams! I think we May try it thru Atlanta and take our chances. We will be heading thru on a Friday.

Barbruka , Please tell me that 15hrs is from Sun Praire and you take many breaks, LOL.
Actually, it's about 15.5 hours from Sun Prairie. 14 from Sussex. And we hardly take any brakes at all. I unfortunately drive fast and hard. (Not too fast!) If you go to you can type in your starting address and your ending address and they will map the fastest route out for you. It will tell you the roads to take and the time from location to location.

...I just checked Mapquest, and it is 14 hours from Sussex to Atlanta. Then about 6 or so hours from Atlanta to Disney.

Good luck!


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