Commuter Dude: Tracking Halloween's unusual traffic

The Halloween rush hour in metro Atlanta starts earlier than a normal day, but what you face may depend on where you are and what highways you use.

ATLANTA – Traffic counts show the Halloween drive home can be radically different in metro Atlanta, and it all depends on the highway you use to get there.

Halloween night traffic is always unpredictable. The evening rush usually starts earlier than normal. Sometimes it’s much earlier.

At our request, GDOT pulled traffic counts from Halloween 2014, the last time the holiday fell on a week day, and compared them to a typical October ride home.

The numbers show that on the downtown connector northbound, the worst Halloween congestion is at 3:45 in the afternoon. On a typical day, it doesn't peak until 6:30.

On I-85 northbound in Gwinnett County, Halloween traffic peaks at about 3:15 p.m., then goes up and down, dropping off at around 5:45. Typically, traffic peaks at around 5:30.

Halloween traffic on I-285 westbound on the top end highest just after noon. It peaks again around 5:30pm. Traffic is just beginning to climb at that time on a typical day.

GDOT data shows that I-75 north in Cobb County, Halloween traffic is highest at 1:15 p.m. It goes up and down, then falls off drastically after 6 o'clock. That’s around the time typical traffic is starting to build.

Strangely, Halloween traffic on I-20 westbound near Six Flags isn't all that much different than the norm, the exception being a spike at around 5:30 p.m. Traffic then falls off a little faster than the typical fall day.

I-285 Southbound in DeKalb is heaviest at 3:15 p.m. It generally follows the pattern of a typical day, but seems to rise and fall more drastically than normal weekday traffic.

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