I'm looking for the sentence which is the opposite of "The traffic is busy." The sentence I want to make is, "The traffic to the downtown is usually very busy during rush hour, so we should leave very early around 5 o'clock when the traffic is light/ the traffic is empty / the traffic is smooth / the road is empty. Which sentence is the most natural English to say? Or if there are other sentences, could you tell me? I've checked it myself, but I'm sitll not sure which is the appropriate sentence.

  • 3
    "Traffic is light" Jun 8, 2014 at 0:39
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    "The traffic is heavy" seems more idiomatic to me, but busy works, in a more literal sense. (But that's why "the traffic is light" is the opposite.)
    – jimsug
    Jun 8, 2014 at 1:47
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    In most American cities, the traffic is heaviest between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM, and between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM. This example suggests leaving "early around 5 o'clock when traffic is light." This implies that the author is talking about 5:00 AM.
    – Jasper
    Mar 19, 2015 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


I've never heard or used "busy traffic" in this context. Rather, the roadway is what is busy with traffic. So I would use: "The traffic is usually heavy during rush hour," which would make the opposite "light traffic."

  • In my country, I often hear the non-native speaker reporter saying "It's very busy now" in response to question like "What about the traffic condition now?"
    – kitty
    Mar 19, 2015 at 13:49
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    @kitty - The roads are busy; the traffic is heavy.
    – J.R.
    Mar 19, 2015 at 21:36

I think "traffic flow is smooth" is how you say it in English

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    In American English, a complete sentence (based on factual knowledge of what is happening now) would be "Traffic is light." or "Traffic is flowing smoothly." In the context of the original example, "when traffic is light" or "when traffic flows smoothly" would be correct, because the sentence is talking about what is likely to be true "around 5 o'clock".
    – Jasper
    Mar 19, 2015 at 16:14

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