Travel Tips

Best and worst times to drive for the Super Bowl 58


It’s that time when Americans are gearing up to catch the big game, and it sure will be big this year. 

Nearly half a million Super Bowl fans are expected to head to Las Vegas to celebrate Super Bowl 58 on Feb. 11, and many others will attend one of the many watch parties nationwide. As the most popular sporting event in the U.S., the Super Bowl is also the biggest television program of the year. In other words, crowds will be inevitable. 

“Las Vegas is historically a popular destination for the Superbowl,” said INRIX transportation analyst Bob Pishue to USA TODAY. “With the Superbowl in Las Vegas this year, we would expect more travel to and from hotels, casinos, restaurants and more along the corridor.”

This year, kickoff is slated to be at 3:30 p.m. MST (local time), prompting travelers who want to experience the Super Bowl at a watch party to plan accordingly to avoid sitting in traffic and missing the fun. 

“It is expected that 450,000 people could be in Vegas for the Super Bowl this year, guaranteeing both road and foot traffic,” David Woody, country development and travel expert at SIXT, told USA TODAY in a statement. “Plan ahead, keep your cool, and stay focused to be the winning quarterback of your team’s travel game.”

Here are five tips for those driving to enjoy the big game:

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1. Plan your route way in advance

Start figuring your route out now if you haven’t already. Those heading to the Las Vegas area should expect hoards of others to be en route and congestion on all major highways leading there, especially on Interstate 15, according to transportation analytics company INRIX. 

Last year, travel time heading northbound into Vegas increased by nearly 30%. Since Vegas is hosting the game this year, expect even more congestion and longer drives. 

Even if you’re staying closer to home, traffic will likely happen too. “Major watch parties are common across the country, so keep in mind the areas which might be the busiest in your city, and try to avoid them or if you’re heading there, be sure to arrive early,” Woody said.

2. The worst travel times to travel for the Super Bowl

Choose your departure times wisely to avoid sitting in stand-still traffic. According to INRIX, peak traffic occurred before the game between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and post-game after 10 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday last year.

Woody predicted that immediately before and after the game could also be hectic for travelers. 

As a bonus for getting to your destination early, you’ll also have more time to find parking. So sit back and relax.

3. Check under the hood

As you do for any road trip, make sure your car is in good shape before you hit the road, even if you’re not necessarily going far. Knowing your car is in working order helps prepare you to avoid any unexpected delays or stops. Be sure to check your car’s fluid levels and tire pressure. Top off your gas tank or charge your EV completely. Better safe than sorry. 

4. Keep calm

Prepare to encounter at least some traffic and delays during your journey, but stay positive and avoid road rage or aggressive driving by focusing on safe driving. “Turn on some music or a radio station that broadcasts the game and trust that you will get there eventually and safe and sound,” Woody said. If you do meet some nuisance driving, take deep breaths and remember the bigger picture: the game. 

5. Be responsible 

Despite the anticipation of the game or the frustration of traffic, make sure you’re being a cautious driver to prevent any accidents or traffic violations. “Driving errors and parking fines are more common during popular events such as the Super Bowl due to a range of factors, such as an increase of vehicles in low-traffic neighborhoods, driving in unfamiliar areas and irresponsible and distracted driving,” said Woody. Even waving a foam finger out your window that causes you to drive a little recklessly could end in a fine. 

“The more aware you are of possible tickets you could face, the better,” he added. 

Make sure to have a plan for a designated driver – the average DUI court case is $10,000, and getting behind the wheel after drinking is never worth it.

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at


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