The Biggest Traffic Jams In History (2023)

From long-lasting to vast queues to accumulated jams in one place, no one wants to be stuck in traffic, particularly not a historically-worst traffic jam. Numerous countries and cities face daily conglomeration, but these record-breaking big traffic jams were shocking to handle for even the most-weathered drivers.

  • Bethel, New York, US (1969)
  • Lyon To Paris, France (1980)
  • East To West German Border (1990)
  • Tokyo, Japan (1990)
  • Hamburg, Germany (1993)
  • North Of Houston, Interstate 45,Texas, US (2005)
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil (2009)
  • China National Highway And Beijing-Tibet Expressway, China (2010)
  • Chicago, Illinois, US (2011)
  • Moscow, Russia (2012)

Bethel, New York, United States (1969)

The Biggest Traffic Jams In History (1)

The three-day tie-up from August 15 to 18 in 1969 took place northwest of New York City, outside of Bethel. It was more than a bad traffic jam of 20 miles (32 km) long, but one of the longest in American history with eight-hour delays on a stretch of road that takes about an hour to bypass. It comprised 500,000 fans heading to Max Yasgur's famous farm for the via New York Thruway.

Many motorists eventually abandoned the stranglehold and stampeded to the festival. The avid fans just wanted to enjoy "three days of peace and music" despite rain, mud, and over tenfold anticipated crowd showing up. The performers for the originally-expected 50,000 attendees took a helicopter to and from the site in lieu of the crippling congestion.

Lyon To Paris, France (1980)

The Biggest Traffic Jams In History (2)

A stalled stampede of wintering birds returning to Paris, compiled by bad weather on February 16, 1980, caused the longest traffic jam in the annals of congestion. The massive line-up of vehicles stretched for 109 miles (175 km), with drivers wishing they had flown home instead. The throngs of people who were supposed to feel relaxed after vacation were encased in their vehicles under inclement skies.

Many would need another ski vacation just to blow off steam and wash away stress after the world's longest historic traffic jam on record. The 450-some miles from Lyon to Paris, easily conquerable in under five hours took up to twice as long. This French mess comprising slow speeds, French curse words, and even more smoking than the usual Parisian habit, just to return to regular life, made it to the Guinness World Records.

(Video) The LONGEST Traffic Jams ever recorded!

East To West German Border (1990)

The Biggest Traffic Jams In History (3)

Like many of the traffic jams around the world, the traffic jam in Germany on April 12, 1990, was caused by something good rather than unfortunate natural or human habits. The Berlin Wall across the 866-mile border between the East Germany and West Germany finally fell after over 40 years of separation on November 9, 1989. Instead of hounding the newly-opened passage right away, more vehicles drove each day, and the number peaked during the spring holidays. The too-many seeking a reunion for Easter caused a massive influx of Germans in a whopping 18 million cars line-up, inching towards their destination.

People stalled for an average of four hours during the first four-day Easter weekend without an internal German border. The pain, however, had good reasons behind it, as the nation was going through a reunification period, which made the affair worth it. Thus, following the freedom from oppression, the nation set a record for most vehicles in a traffic jam along the road that sees, on average, its designed capacity of half a million vehicles a day.

Tokyo, Japan (1990)

The Biggest Traffic Jams In History (4)

The 84-mile traffic jam on August 12, 1990, was the biggest in Japan's history. Over 15,000 vehicles packed the highways with people inching their way home from the summer holidays during Typhoon Winona. The congested highways outside of Tokyo were designed during the 18th century to handle less than half the amount of traffic that piled on that fateful day, with the situation worsened by bad weather conditions.

Many were heading from "O-bon," or the Festival of the Dead that gathers families together to pay respects to the dead. There were also some who were residents alerted to evacuate the city following a typhoon warning. The worst jam stretched 84 miles between Hyogo and Shiga prefectures, with over 15,000 crawling vehicles in western Japan. The accumulated jams along highways around the city stretched for 30-40 miles, with families and travelers dealing with chaos.

Hamburg, Germany (1993)

The Biggest Traffic Jams In History (5)
(Video) 15 WORST Traffic Jams in History

Hamburg was declared the worst German city for traffic jams in 2018, years after its 100-mile congestion in 1993. This "incident" had a much simpler cause but nearly broke the world record, placing second-longest after the Parisian "affair." Nothing hinted at the misfortune that day when commuters were stranded over hundred miles along the road stretch, just itching to get home after work during rush hour like no other. Bumper-to-bumper situations are a normal road condition in this booming megalopolis, but the 90s gridlock proved the absolute worst for the country.

Houston, Interstate 45, Texas, United States (2005)

The approaching Hurricane Rita in Houston caused another nearly record-breaking traffic jam on September 21, 2005. Upon being told to evacuate the dangerous city premises, a massive 100-mile queue of vehicles with fleeing residents formed along Interstate 45, putting thousands at risk of facing the hurricane head-on.

The worst of the congestion lasted up to 48 hours, with motorists encased for whole 24 hours along the stretch from Dallas to Galveston main evacuation route. The major north-south route with a lot of traffic on a regular day could not handle the influx of cars, with backups for nearly 100 miles (160 km). Although the dangerous hurricane didn't hit the city, the oppressive scene of clogged vehicles reportedly still saved lives from the disaster that struck near.

Sao Paulo, Brazil (2009)

The Biggest Traffic Jams In History (6)

Many cities known for bad traffic pale in comparison to Sao Paulo, the king of congested roads. According to Time magazine, an average driver in this South American metropolis spends four hours a day crawling through traffic. The city set a record with a traffic jam comprising 182 miles of stalled cars over 522 miles (840 km) of blocked city streets on June 10, 2009. All highways were jammed going in and out of the city for the world's worst traffic jam, comprising most accumulated jams at the same time.

Sao Paulo faces severe congestion on a typical day, with traffic jams spanning up to 120 miles at peak hours, a normal affair that would seem wildly unheard of in other places. Its traffic problem stems from the rising economy and living standards, but good fortune is the farthest thing from mind for people stuck in jams. Sao Paulo is a booming economy with skyrocketing amounts of commercial vehicles sold yearly and approximately 1,000 more new vehicles on the streets daily.

China National Highway And Beijing-Tibet Expressway, China (2010)

One of the most famous traffic jams stretched for 62 miles and lasted for an incredible 12 days. It was translated onto worldwide networks, showing the mess that could not be cleared for nearly two weeks straight. The bad jam began on August 14, 2010, when numerous vehicles tried to traverse the Beijing-Tibet Expressway, including bevy and heavy trucks with construction loads. These trucks, traveling from Inner Mongolia coal fields to the capital, were particularly responsible for pushing highway capacity over by 60% of what it was designed to handle. Too many vehicles clogged the road to Beijing, China, which was, in the first place, constructed to ease the passage and prevent congestion.

(Video) क्या हुआ लोगो का जब वो फेज थे 8 साल लम्बे TRAFFIC JAM में 😱| Worlds Worst Traffic Jams in HISTORY

Instead, it took up to three full days for a car to traverse the expressways. Moreover, the road was already 50% compromised with in-progress road construction. The drivers with the worst luck were stuck in the jam for five days, with an average of 0.6 miles of movement down the expressway per day. Clever Chinese villagers sold food and beverage along the road, making the most of the situation with the price of instant noodles three times the cost and water tenfold from its original yuan ($0.15) price.

Chicago, Illinois, United States (2011)

The Biggest Traffic Jams In History (7)

On February 1, 2011, a near-record of 20.2 inches of snow descended onto the Windy City on February 1, 2011, along with one of the worst traffic jams in American history. It occurred in a mid-winter blizzard during the evening rush hour, with most unfortunate heading north on Lake Shore Drive from downtown Chicago. The slowed traffic halted, stranding drifting motorists in the snow, piling nearly to the windshields. Numerous weather-related accidents prolonged the scene.

The worst thing about this 12-hour crippling jam in Chicago was being stranded along the road in white-out conditions and freezing temperatures. People reported it was downright scary with the unceasing snowfall and vehicles turned on for heat, slowly draining gas out of tanks. Many abandoned their cars, deeming it too dangerous to stay put and wait out. The abandoned vehicles along Lake Shore Drive became a real car graveyard until the mess was cleared days later.

Read More10 Deadliest Snowstorms In US History

Moscow, Russia (2012)

The Biggest Traffic Jams In History (8)
(Video) The Time China Had a 12 Day Long Traffic Jam

The traffic jam on November 30, 2012, was reportedly the world's longest at the hands of bad weather. Russia's famous winter hit worst with a snowstorm that buried Highway M-10 between St. Petersburg and Moscow. Cars were feet-deep in piles of snow that stalled movement and caused traffic to back up for a reported125 miles (201 km).

The worst section with the main obstruction of snow piled a quarter of the distance from Moscow to St. Petersburg. This left some stranded for three whole days before getting dug out. Government tents along the route offered provisions and psychological counseling for exhausted motorists.

Traffic jams happen for numerous reasons, the most common being weather, special events, and accidents. The world population is growing, and unless new tech invents flying vehicles and air roads, it is only projected to worsen. With more drivers on the roads each day, the even bigger jams will take longer to resolve, with longer queues and more traffic involved in pile-ups.

Worst Traffic Jams in History

Bethel, New York, United StatesAugust 15, 1969
Lyon to Paris, FranceFebruary 16, 1980
East to West German BorderApril 12, 1990
Tokyo, JapanAugust 12, 1990
Hamburg, Germany1993
Houston, Texas, Interstate 45, United StatesSeptember 21, 2005
Sau Paulo, BrazilJune 10, 2009
China National Highway and Beijing-Tibet Expressway, ChinaAugust 14, 2010
Chicago, Illinois, United StatesFebruary 1, 2011
Moscow, RussiaNovember 30, 2012


Alisa Mala January 30 2023 in Science


What is the biggest traffic jam in history? ›

China National Highway 110 traffic jam - Wikipedia.

How to solve traffic jam essay? ›

  1. People should use public transport as much as possible.
  2. The government must increase the facilities of public transport as per the need of the population.
  3. Everyone should avoid the unnecessary collection of vehicles.
  4. People should use carpool and vehicle sharing to decrease the vehicles on the road.

What caused the China highway 110 traffic jam? ›

Slow moving traffic and recurrent traffic jams on Highway 110 between Beijing and Inner Mongolia result from an overload of coal trucks transporting coal from newly opened mines in Inner Mongolia to sea ports on the coast of China.

What was the longest traffic jam in 1980? ›

The longest traffic jam was in 1980 that was 176 kilometers (109 miles) long from Lyon towards Paris in France.

What is the longest traffic jam in America? ›

The three-day tie-up from August 15 to 18 in 1969 took place northwest of New York City, outside of Bethel. It was more than a bad traffic jam of 20 miles (32 km) long, but one of the longest in American history with eight-hour delays on a stretch of road that takes about an hour to bypass.

What is the main cause of traffic? ›

Although almost every driver has dealt with traffic, few realize why it happens. Traffic happens from a roadway having too many cars on it at once. If the road doesn't have space for all of the vehicles, people have to drive slower and closer together to fit more cars.

How can we prevent traffic? ›

5 Ways to End Heavy Traffic
  1. Multimodal streets. Streets don't have to be for cars only. ...
  2. Congestion pricing and limited traffic zones. We've written articles about this before. ...
  3. Eliminate street parking. ...
  4. Add transit options. ...
  5. Reclaim public places.
Feb 4, 2020

What are the main cause of traffic problems? ›

The key factors behind traffic congestion include road works, accidents, traffic overload on the same route, and large numbers of pedestrians holding up the vehicles. Although all these factors can be managed relatively easily, surprisingly not a lot of solutions have been provided thus far.

How long did it take to clear the 74 mile traffic jam in Beijing? ›

The record for worst traffic jam ever, though, goes to China. In 2010, China hosted a 74-mile long, 11 day traffic jam that stretched from Beijing towards Mongolia.

What is the mother of all traffic jams? ›

The China National Highway 110's mother of all traffic jams, which began to form on 13 August 2010, is regarded by some media as the longest-ever traffic jam in world history.

Where is the widest highway in the world? ›

The Katy Freeway in Houston, Texas, spans across 26 lanes making it the worlds widest.

Where is the most traffic jam in the world? ›

Most Congested Cities in the World 2022: London, Paris, New York in Top Five - Bloomberg.

What is the most pulled over car in America? ›

Most Common Cars That Get Pulled Over
  • Nissan 350Z. ...
  • Mazdaspeed 3. ...
  • Kia Stinger. ...
  • Dodge Charger. ...
  • Mercury Cougar. ...
  • Cadillac Seville. ...
  • Dodge Charger SE/SXT. These two cars were produced during the sixth generation of the Charger line. ...
  • Pontiac GTO. One of the earliest and most iconic muscle cars was the 1964 Pontiac GTO.
Sep 8, 2022

What is the most traveled road in America? ›

I-95 at SR 4

When it comes to congestion, Fort Lee takes the top prize for having the busiest highway in the USA. The average speed on the highway is just 29 miles per hour, which is the second slowest on our list. Overall though, this is the most congested stretch of highway in America, avoid it at all costs.

What is busy traffic called? ›

Traffic congestion is a condition in transport that is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing.

Do slow drivers cause traffic jams? ›

A few slow cars can even lead to a traffic jam, especially if two cars are moving equally slowly and blocking both lanes of traffic. Driving slower than the traffic that surrounds you is more likely to cause an accident than if you were speeding.

What are the 3 main causes of road accidents? ›

Factors like human error, vehicle failures, and bad road and weather conditions are the main causes of road car accidents. You should be aware of these factors to reduce the chances of crashes while driving.

What are the solutions of traffic accidents? ›

  • Drive in the prescribed speed limits on the various roads. ...
  • Always put on helmets, seat belts and other safety equipments before driving a bicycle/ motor cycle/vehicle. ...
  • Do not drink and drive. ...
  • Never use mobile phones or ear phones while driving.

What causes traffic essay? ›

Causes of Traffic Jam

Traffic Jams occur due to a lack of planning of city roads. Due to constructions of buildings, offices, flyovers, metro the roadways are blocked, diverting the Traffic to other routes causes Traffic Jams.

Why should we solve traffic problems? ›

Traffic creates more problems than just commuting delays. Traffic congestion can cause compounding issues for delivery drivers and the supply chain, slowing the restocking of food and other essentials to communities that don't have many local sources.

How is traffic a social problem? ›

Congestion increases travel costs and reduces accessibility by increasing travel times. Congestion exposure has substantial adverse effects, such as an increase in noise pollution, driver stress, decreased mental satisfaction, the city's economic growth, and increased passenger time pressure [3].

When was traffic jam first used? ›

That's right, on this day, November 11th, almost 100 years ago in 1921, marks the date of the first recorded traffic jam in history.

What are the traffic guys called? ›

Traffic guards, also known as traffic controllers and flaggers, are trained to set up warning signs and barricades to slow down the speed of traffic in a temporary traffic control zone.

Who is the father of traffic? ›

Traffic Ramaswamy
BornK. R. Ramaswamy 1 April 1934 Tamil Nadu
Died4 May 2021 (aged 87) Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Other namesSampath, Traffic Ramaswamy
2 more rows

Why it is called traffic jam? ›

Save this answer. Show activity on this post. The sense of jam in traffic jam meaning traffic congestion developed out of the verb connotation of obstructing, blocking or become immovable. The expression dates back to the early 20th century.

What is the highest speed limit in the world? ›

The first numeric speed limit for automobiles was the 10 mph (16 km/h) limit introduced in the United Kingdom in 1861. As of 2018 the highest posted speed limit in the world is 160 km/h (99 mph), applied on two motorways in the UAE.

What are the 4 states not served by an interstate? ›

Those not directly served are Juneau, AK; Dover, DE; Jefferson City, MO; and Pierre, SD.

What is the busiest freeway in America? ›

Los Angeles' section of I-405 serves an estimated 379,000 vehicles per day, making it the busiest interstate in any American city.
New FHWA Report Reveals States with the Busiest Highways.
California84.681 billion
Virginia24.062 billion
Pennsylvania23.662 billion
North Carolina21.241 billion
Michigan20.707 billion
5 more rows
Aug 1, 2019

Which city has the craziest traffic? ›

New York City had the highest congestion level, number of traffic jams, length of traffic jams, and tied with Philadelphia for having the worst driving speed, according to the study.

Which country is traffic free? ›

Luxembourg becomes first country in the world to make public transport free | Times of India Travel.

What US city has the best traffic? ›

Boston commuters on average spent 149 hours – or just over six days – in traffic in 2019, making it the most congested city in the U.S.
Photos You Should See - Oct. 2020.
Congestion RankMetro AreaHours Lost to Congestion
1Boston, Massachusetts149
2Chicago, Illinois145
3Philadelphia, Pennsylvania142
7 more rows

How far was traffic backed up for Woodstock? ›

Cars were backed up bumper to bumper, many of them stalled, for 15 miles outside the festival grounds.

Who refused to play at Woodstock? ›

Jethro Tull declined an invitation to play Woodstock in 1969. Singer Ian Anderson explained the decision in a Q&A with, saying, "The reason I didn't want to play Woodstock is because I asked our manager, Terry Ellis, 'Well, who else is going to be there?'

Who turned down Woodstock 1969? ›

Recruited to play at Woodstock, Led Zeppelin turned down the gig. Instead, they headlined a show about 150 miles south of Bethel, at Asbury Park's Convention Hall, as part of promoter Moe Septee's “Summer of Stars” concert series.

Who paid to clean up after Woodstock? ›

The original promoters paid $50,000 just to clean up Yasgur's farm after the festival. And most of Woodstock's current 7,000 residents aren't eager to see how much clean-up would cost if it were held today.

Where is the heaviest traffic in the US? ›

A just released study says Chicagoans face the worst traffic jams in the nation, with an average 155 ... [+] Like a great many aspects of American life that were impacted by the pandemic, traffic congestion is returning to normal.

What city is known for traffic? ›

In cities like Bogotá, Colombia, and Rio de Janeiro, drivers spend more than 180 hours a year in traffic. Sept. 23, 2020, at 1:07 p.m.


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