What are the Worst Traffic Times in St. Louis?

Originally posted on September 6, 2021. Updated February 16, 2023.

St. Louis, Missouri is home to more than 3 million people and is the third-largest city in the Midwest. With so many drivers on the road at any given time, it’s no surprise that car accidents occur frequently in St. Louis. Missouri traffic fatalities increased by 2% from 2021 to 2022 with a preliminary total of 1,034 fatalities. That’s significant when you consider that the commuting patterns have shifted toward more remote workers since the beginning of the pandemic. Even with the uptick of remote or hybrid working situations, the state has not seen numbers this high since 2006. 

If you find yourself stuck in heavy traffic regularly, being aware of the worst traffic times in St. Louis can help you adjust your travel times accordingly. And if you are involved in an accident, our St. Louis car accident lawyers can help you understand your rights and pursue a claim for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. 


According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the worst traffic times are between 6-8:00 am when commuters drive to work. The second highest period of traffic is between 5-6:00 pm, when many drivers are out on the roads heading home from work. But this period can be even more dangerous because alcohol consumption and driving often go hand-in-hand at night. Of crashes that occurred between 3-9:00 pm, one out of every three was fatal.


Many things cause traffic accidents, but it is clear that heavy traffic directly impacts the number of car crashes. When stuck in traffic, drivers may be more likely to engage in these dangerous behaviors.

Driver Fatigue 

After focusing on the road for a long period or when driving while drowsy, people operating a motor vehicle may experience driver fatigue. Driving while tired can lead to failures in judgment and slower reaction times that result in rear-end collisions.

Not only does it increase the risk of crashes, but tired drivers are also more likely to run traffic signals and fail to yield the right-of-way at intersections. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates driver fatigue causes roughly 100,000 crashes, 50,000 injuries, and almost 800 deaths across the U.S.


Speed is dangerous even if the road conditions are optimal. Driving above the posted speed limit in bad weather or during peak traffic hours further increases your risk of an accident and injury.

There are also legal repercussions to speeding in Missouri. Driving anywhere from 5-20 MPH over the speed limit is considered a Class C misdemeanor, while exceeding 20 MPH over the posted limit is a Class B misdemeanor. These infractions can result in fines and even potential jail time.


Rubbernecking occurs when a driver consciously decides to take their eyes off the road to stare at something else. This could be due to another accident grabbing their attention or simply getting too caught up in new surroundings. Regardless of where you are or the weather conditions, it’s critical to always remain focused on the road when you’re in the driver’s seat.

Rear-End Collisions 

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that 29% of all car accidents involve rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions occur when one car is hit by another from behind. If a rear-end collision occurs on a highway at immense speed, it can sometimes result in the vehicle hit from behind rolling over or being pushed off the road. The vehicle hit from behind often gets pushed forward and hits other cars as well, causing a pile-up.

The types of injuries victims can experience in these types of crashes depends on the size of the vehicle they were hit by, the speed it was going, and the weather conditions. These collisions can also occur because of distracted driving, inclement weather, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


It is impossible to predict or avoid all the factors contributing to motor vehicle accidents, especially during St. Louis’s busiest traffic times. Contact the St. Louis car accident lawyers at Cofman Townsley following an auto accident for guidance on filing claims for fair compensation.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today for your free consultation with an experienced lawyer to discuss your case and legal options.