10 Longest Traffic Jams Around the World: Well, one of the most common and irritating problems that one faces in the major cities around the world today is getting caught in traffic jams. It is undoubtedly the serious case that urban areas around the world increasingly suffer from traffic congestion. Do you ever think of spending 12 days of your life in Traffic Jam? Huhhh! Crazy right!. But, yeah there are few longest traffic jams across the globe where people spent their 12 days on the roads which may surprise you. Take a look to get goosebumps.
What is Traffic Congestion?
Traffic congestion occurs when a volume of traffic or modal split generates demand for space greater than the available road capacity; this point is commonly termed Saturation. There are a number of specific circumstances which cause or aggravate congestion; most of them reduce the capacity of a road at a given point or over a certain length or increase the number of vehicles required for a given volume of people or goods.
Traffic congestion has a number of negative effects:
- Wasting time of motorists and passengers (“opportunity cost”). As a non-productive activity for most people, congestion reduces regional economic health.
- Delays, which may result in late arrival for employment, meetings, and education, resulting in lost business, disciplinary action or other personal losses.
- Wasted fuel increasing air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions owing to increased idling, acceleration, and braking.
- Wear and tear on vehicles as a result of idling in traffic and frequent acceleration and braking, leading to more frequent repairs and replacements.
- Stressed and frustrated motorists, encouraging road rage and reduced health of motorists
- Emergencies: blocked traffic may interfere with the passage of emergency vehicles traveling to their destinations where they are urgently needed.
- Higher chance of collisions due to tight spacing and constant stopping-and-going.
Longest Traffic Jams Around the World
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You might think holiday traffic over this type of traffic prone areas might be bad, but imagine sitting amidst a sea of cars spread across 50 lanes of congestion, brought to a standstill for hours on end. That’s what Reuters reported with China suffering one of the worst backups on record earlier on the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway.
As shocking as that spectacle is, that’s not even close to being worst highway congestion, neither in China nor in the world. We’re featuring a look back at what are arguably the 10 other worst traffic jams of all time from across the globe–all are epic standstills for which commuting became camping and roadways were reduced to parking lots.
1. Sao Paulo, Brazil—November 2013
Already dubbed the city with the world’s worst traffic jams, the Brazilian city recorded its longest traffic jam ever in November 2013, stretching out over 192 miles. The city regularly gets 100 mile-plus traffic jams on Friday evenings, but this Thursday, before a holiday weekend, really pushed traffic over the top.
The traffic in Sao Paulo has taken on a culture of its own: People read, shave, put on makeup, and watch movies right in the car. One woman even met her husband during a traffic jam: “‘I was with a friend in my car and he was in his car also with a friend. In the stop and go of the traffic jam we started driving side by side and then he started looking at me,’” says [Fabiana] Crespo. After some flirting through the car windows, Mauricio managed to convince Fabiana to give him her phone number. He called, and an enduring love story began.” What’s remarkable is that traffic has created a roving bar or coffee shop of sorts, inching oh-so-slowly along the highway.
2. Beijing, China: August 2010
You’ve heard of the Great Wall of China – but how about the Great Crawl of China?
That’s what happened at the end of the National Day Golden Week holiday.
The mother of all traffic jams was created in China on August 14, 2010. It lasted 12 days with a huge car panorama that stretched for more than 62 miles (100 km). A mini-economy of overpriced food, water, and cigarettes sprang up instantly.
The longest traffic jam in the world was in the China National Highway 110, between Hebei and Inner Mongolia. The traffic jam slowed down thousands of vehicles. As hungry and thirsty drivers sat in their cars for days, vendors came by to sell instant noodles at four times their usual price and water at ten times. Not caused by closure or natural disaster, this all-time tie-up cause was simply the result of too many vehicles clogging the road, particularly a bevy of heavy trucks carrying construction supplies into Beijing, ironically for road work that was intended to help ease congestion. Drivers were able to move their vehicles only 1 km (0.6 mi) per day.
3. Bethel, New York: August 1969
This three-day tie-up over August 15-18, 1969 was caused by more than 500,000 revelers descending on Max Yasgur’s famous farm for the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival. The New York Thruway became a stranglehold for more than 20 miles, with many eventually abandoning their cars and hoofing it to enjoy “three days of peace and music.” Performers had to be flown to and from the site in helicopters.
4. Chicago, Illinois: February 2011
Over 20 inches of snow fell on the Windy City on February 1, 2011 in a mid-winter blizzard that hit during the evening rush hour. The most unfortunate commuters were those headed northbound on Lake Shore Drive, where traffic was slowed, then halted, stranding motorists for more than 12 hours in drifting snow that reached almost as high as the cars’ windshield
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5. East/West Germany: April 1990
With the Berlin Wall having recently fallen, the Easter holiday saw a massive influx of Germans eager to reconnect with friends and family members. The ensuing backup on April 12,1990 was estimated at a whopping 18 million cars on a roadway that otherwise averages a half million vehicles a day. That’s a lot of Ladas.
6. Interstate 45, Texas: September 2005
With Hurricane Rita approaching Houston, residents were told to evacuate on September 21, 2005, with as many as 2.5 million of them creating a massive 100-mile queue on Interstate 45. The congestion reportedly lasted for as much as 48 hours, leaving motorists stranded for as long as 24 hours along the 300-mile route from Galveston to Dallas. Though oppressive, the mass evacuation likely saved many lives.
7. Lyon-Paris, France: February 1980
Noted as being the longest traffic jam in the annals of congestion, winter vacationers returning to Paris faced inclement weather and caused a massive tie-up that stretched 109 miles long. Perhaps it would have been quicker had they skied back into the city.
8. Moscow, Russia: November 2012
Another weather-related tale of vehicular woe, a snowstorm buried Highway M-10 that links St, Petersburg to Moscow on November 30, 2012. It stopped traffic in its tracks for up to three days and the government reportedly set up tents along the route to offer psychological counseling (and we would assume vodka) for mired motorists.
9. New York City, New York, September 2001
In the days following the horrific assault on the WorldTrade Center on September 11, New York City was virtually locked down, with bridges and tunnels closed to all but emergency vehicles, public transportation shut down and traffic at a halt across the city. Even air traffic was grounded, leaving thousands of travelers stranded across the U.S.
10. San Paulo, Brazil: June 2009
We’ve heard from several readers regarding our worst traffic posts over the years that tie-ups in New York or San Francisco pale in comparison to those in San Paulo. It’s said to be awful on a good day, but the city set what must be some kind of record with more than 182 miles of traffic jams over 522 miles of road reported on June 10, 2009.
11. Tokyo, Japan: August 1990
More than 15,000 cars crawled along for over 84 miles on a highway between Hyogo and Shiga prefectures in western Japan on August 12, 1990, in an artery-clogging combination of holiday revelers heading home and residents evacuating the city because of a typhoon warning. The holiday in question was “O-bon,” the so-called Festival of the Dead when families gather to pay respects to their ancestors. Festival of the dead end is more like it.
So, here are the longest traffic jams around the World. We hope you enjoyed with this article. Let us know your feedback on the same. Drive safe and be safe.
Thank you! Happy Journey.