Driving in Atlanta: 6 Tips for Tourists

Anyone who has ever driven in or through a big city knows that it can be an agonizingly slow and possibly confusing experience that has the potential to drive you to sell your car and cut up your driver's license. Well, when driving in Atlanta, this kind of experience is… exactly what you can expect. While no amount of tips are going to make driving through Atlanta an enjoyable, relaxing experience, hopefully, they can at least minimize the madness.

Driving in Atlanta: 6 Tips for Tourists

All Rules Have Exceptions

All drivers have heard it at one point or another, although few drivers abide by this rule of the road. Drive in the right-hand lane and pass in the left. While this is generally a good rule to follow on most roadways, it does not hold up when driving through Atlanta.

If you try to live by this rule on your drive through Atlanta, you will either find yourself constantly looking for an onramp to get back on the freeway or having to scramble to move left and repeatedly cutting off other drivers. The problem is that most of these right-hand lanes are Exit Only.

Avoid Rush Hour

While commuters have no choice in this one, tourists typically do. If you are on your way through Atlanta, try to plan your departure time so that you won't hit Atlanta during rush hour. Getting to the city between late morning and early afternoon or late in the evening are your best bets.

In the mornings, rush hour traffic is worst between five o'clock and nine but can start as early as four and go as late as 10 a.m. In the evening, it usually is worst between four o'clock and seven, but your safest bet is to tack on an extra half hour on both ends.

If your vacation is within the city, then try to plan your daily itinerary so that you can avoid being on the roads during these periods, as much as possible. If you can find a spot to park and visit multiple attractions in the same area during a span of hours, do so. You can walk around while the roads are packed with cars.

Download a Good Traffic App

Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. However, when it comes to getting through big city traffic, a good traffic app feels like the greatest achievement of the species. You can check the app before you get on the road and plan your route accordingly. If you have a hands-free setup for your phone in your car, you can continue to use the app as you drive and, if needed, adjust your route as the app gets updated information.

Be Patient

Remember that if you do get stuck in traffic, everyone around you is in the same boat. Laying on your horn isn't going to do anything but annoy everyone. Make sure to have some good music, a podcast, or a nice audiobook to keep you occupied. If you are traveling with kids, make sure to have plenty in the car to keep them entertained. Restless kids in the backseat combined with gridlock can be a recipe for madness.

Remain Vigilant

When stuck in stop and go traffic, it can be really easy to let your mind wander and lose track of what is going on around you. While you are unlikely to be involved in a fatal accident during gridlock, it is still quite easy to end up in a fender-bender.

Car accidents can always mess up your road trip. Make sure to keep a safe distance between you and the driver ahead of you and never take your attention off the road for a moment when your foot is not firmly down upon the brake.

Be Polite

Always remember to give a little wave to the driver behind you when they let you merge in front of them. Road rage can lead to serious dangers. By giving the other driver that little wave, you become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. A little kindness goes a long way. They did you a favor letting you in, do them a favor by acknowledging it.