Sticking around a little longer in the office can cost you dearly on your commute home. We crunched the data to figure out the best time to leave the office and head east. On an empty freeway, the ride will take you 38 minutes. Leave Santa Monica at 4 pm, and it will be 95 minutes. Leave at 5:40, and you’ll be stuck for 107 minutes. So, don’t leave at 5:40.
If you commute 48 weeks a year, leaving at 5:40 will add up to an additional 28 hours in traffic, compared with leaving at 5 pm.
How we did it: Using a database called ADMS, we looked at average speeds on the I-10 freeway during evening rush hour. The data represents all the Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for a year. We broke it up into 10-minute intervals and then calculated travel times from Santa Monica to Downtown Los Angeles. We then listed those average travel times for each interval and graphed the difference.