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Thursday Is The Most Awful Traffic Day In Los Angeles

All of L.A. at about 6 p.m. on Thursdays, as played by one stock image actor (Photo by ARENA Creative via Shutterstock)
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The results are in on a study on everyone’s least favorite thing in the world, traffic: It turns out Thursdays are the absolute worst.Results culled from three companies that analyze traffic through GPS agree that Thursdays are one of the worst days, if not the worst, according to the Los Angeles Times. There’s some variation to the data—one firm says Fridays are just as bad, another says Wednesdays are equally terrible. But according to technology company Inrix, the congestion lasts the longest on Thursdays. And just so we don’t short-change the suckiness of Friday traffic, Inrix says traffic starts even earlier on Fridays, it just doesn’t last as long as on Thursdays.

But why are Thursdays the worst? Researcher theories range from commuters leaving early on Thursdays, right in the middle of rush hour, and taking Fridays off or working from home, to college students commuting to classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

People also tend to start their weekends early around here. Bill Eisele, a senior research engineer at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, says, “If you think about Los Angeles, and the surrounding area, you have a lot of destinations. There’s always something going on somewhere in the basin, not only for locals, but for people who are visiting.”

Other not-so-fun facts pulled from the data, which also includes information pulled from Dutch GPS company TomTom and routing app Waze:

  • Thursday after-work commuters between Simi Valley and Costa Mesa spend 40 minutes of every hour sitting in traffic, according to TomTom.
  • The worst delays happen between 5 and 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, with an average trip taking 47% longer than usual, according to Inrix.
  • All three companies agree, Tuesdays have the worst morning delays. Traffic after 9 a.m. on Tuesdays takes about a third longer than if traffic weren’t snarled.
  • The eastbound 10 is the absolute worst for traffic in the greater L.A. area, and the second worst route in the country. No surprise there. The worst time to drive on the 10 between Santa Monica and Downtown, in either direction, is Thursdays between 6 and 7 p.m.
  • We have five of the 10 most congested freeway corridors in the country: the eastbound 10; the northbound 405; the southbound 5; the eastbound 91; and the northbound 101. Go L.A. (More like don’t go, L.A.)
  • The 405 south through the Sepulveda Pass is at its worst Wednesdays between 8 and 9 a.m., as congestion adds a half-hour to the average commute, Inrix said. The longest northbound delays through the Pass happen on Thursdays between 5 and 6 p.m., tacking 40 minutes onto drive times.
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These findings generally are the same in different cities—traffic at the end of the work week is the worst no matter where you go.