June 30, 2023
Auto Accident

Originally published July 19, 2021.

No one likes being stuck in traffic, especially on their morning and evening commutes. But traffic is a weekday reality for millions of Alabamians. However, some Yellowhammer State residents get a worse shake than others when it comes to sitting in highway gridlock day after day.

In most states, the cities with the largest population tend to have the most traffic, and Alabama is no exception.

Birmingham

Birmingham’s metropolitan area is home to around 1.15 million residents, and boasts an impressive number of Interstates: 65, 22, 59, 20, and 459. This combination of a dense population and busy highways means that Birmingham area residents spend nearly 40 hours per year in traffic, while the average one-way commute in the city takes around 22 minutes.

According to GPS manufacturer TomTom, Birmingham’s 2022 traffic peaked in the evening rather than in the morning, with the Thursday evening commute being the worst of all.

Montgomery

The state’s capital has nearly 200,000 people, with its metro area boasting around 375,000. It’s also the location of Maxwell Air Force Base and three large public universities: Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery Campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery.

INRIX’s 2022 global traffic scorecard found that Montgomery ranked 821th worldwide in traffic congestion, with residents losing around 8 hours per year in congestion on average. In addition, traffic worsened in the city by 180% since 2021.

Athens

Athens ranks 20th in population in Alabama, but it has the third-highest congestion rating in the state according to INRIX. Although population plays a major role in how much congestion residents experience while driving, it doesn’t always tell the entire story, as Athens’s residents can attest. People who live here lose an average of 14 hours per year in traffic.

Mobile

Like Birmingham, Mobile also sees Interstate 65 run through it, in addition to Interstates 10 and 165. Part of the gridlock in the city is related to its locationon the water and its many tourism-related activities and attractions, causing traffic levels to soar during the spring, summer, and fall.

The average one-way commute in the city is just shy of Birmingham’s, clocking in at 21 minutes. In addition, the average resident loses around five hours sitting in traffic each year.

Huntsville

The city of Huntsville ranks third in population in Alabama, and it lags just behind Montgomery with around 196,000 residents. Although Huntsville is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, and the University of Alabama at Huntsville, the city has only one interstate—Interstate 565. Otherwise, the city is served by highways.

With Interstate 65 passing through nearby Athens and Decatur instead, Huntsville is spared from out-of-state traffic, which means residents spend only around three hours per year in congestion.

Tuscaloosa

Roll Tide! Home of the University of Alabama, “T-Town” has around 100,000 permanent residents, a population that can easily more than double when the Crimson Tide are playing at home. The presence of the largest university in the state, with a student body of nearly 40,000, combined with SEC football Saturdays, means that the average Tuscaloosa resident spends around three hours in traffic each year.

Does More Traffic Mean More Crashes?

According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in a study published in 2019, there is, in fact, a relationship between traffic congestion and accidents. The more traffic there is in a given area, the more accidents there are.

There are many factors at play when it comes to auto accidents, and some studies suggest that rural roads with little to no traffic are more dangerous than gridlocked interstates. Regardless of where you’re driving, it’s clear that avoiding an accident is all about avoiding dangerous behaviors, and that means not speeding, avoiding distractions , and never getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

When Alabamians Are Hurt in Crashes, We’re Here to Help

Whether they’re injured during rush hour on Interstate 65, or they’re involved in a crash on a rural road at 2 a.m., it’s our goal to always be there for injured victims when negligent drivers hurt them. If you or someone you love was recently injured in a crash that wasn’t your fault, we want to fight for your rights to full compensation.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We know Alabama’s traffic laws and insurance companies, and we know what it takes to win even the toughest auto accident claims.

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