You know the longer you sit in a traffic jam, the more it feels like one of the worst traffic jams in history? It’s completely understandable as traffic jams have the ability to mess up our sense of time. However, objectively speaking, it is highly unlikely to compare any traffic jam you’ve ever been in to the actual worst traffic jams in history. In fact, some of these were so massive that your daily rush hour drive would seem like a walk in the park.
10. Chicago, 2011
Chicago was hit by a particularly bad blizzard in 201
While it wasn’t a particularly long traffic jam – especially when compared to some of the other entries on this list – it is remarkable what the commuters have been through. Around 1,500 cars were stranded on Lake Shore Drive during the snow storm, and many drivers and their families spent all night on the road.
It was almost continuous StormAlso and became so bad that firefighters had to be called in to rescue people from their vehicles. By the end of the next morning, almost all of the cars involved – many with their passengers still inside – were buried in snow up to the windshield.
9. East-West Autobahn, Germany, 1990
The fall of the Berlin Wall was a monumental event for both Germans and the rest of the world as thousands of people stormed west from the east to finally reunite with their separated relatives. As you’d expect, this also resulted in one of the worst traffic jams in history.
Some estimates suggest that over 18 million People and 50,000 vehicles were stuck on the road that linked the two sides once it was opened. While we couldn’t find any reliable reports on how long the traffic jam lasted, we suspect this is because everyone is too excited to leave East Germany to keep an eye on the time.
8. M5 Motorway, UK, 2019
A 15-mile traffic jam may sound like a normal drive to the office in big cities like New York or Beijing, although for the relatively small cities of Europe it is easily one of the most worst Jams in the history of the city.
This is exactly what happened in Somerset, England in 2017 when the M5 motorway became congested due to an accidental loss of fuel for over 36 miles. It took over 15 hours to completely clear both lanes, making it the worst episode of traffic jams in the history of England.
7. The Woodstock Jam, New York, 1969
The Woodstock Festival was something different to different people – a place where teenagers could express themselves freely, a statement against the system, or just a cool music festival with a sick cast. However, everyone agreed that they had to weather the absolutely massive traffic jam that led to the venue.
For the people who had the chance to experience it for themselves, the jam was as much an attraction as the festival itself. Over one, according to some estimates million People attended the festival and almost all of them sat through the 10 mile jam for the entire three day festival.
6. Hyogo – Shiga Highway, Japan, 1990
Tokyo is one of the best planned cities in the world in every way as it is very prone to many natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. It doesn’t always work, however, as we still don’t have the means to closely monitor natural disasters, especially in tectonic hotspots like Japan. It’s also one of the – if not that – most densely populated countries we know, which makes things even more complicated when things go south.
This is exactly what happened on the highway between Hyogo and Shiga on August 12, 1990, when a typhoon warning – along with a local festival – caused the worst traffic jam in Japanese history. According to local reports, around 15,000 vehicles were stuck in the 84-mile traffic jam that day, which was not cleared until the next day afternoon.
5. The ‘Brexit’ Jam, Indonesia, 2016
Most of us may know Brexit as the current term for Britain’s planned exit from the EU. However, when you travel to Indonesia it still refers to an intersection near the town of Brebes. a city on the main island of Java. Much like the rest of the major intersections across the country, the Brexit intersection results in massive traffic jams around Eid al-Fitr every year.
In 2016, however several factors – such as abnormally high traffic, rush hour and a bottleneck caused by a nearby fuel pump – resulted in a massive 13 miles of traffic jam at the intersection. It would be, except that it also killed people, which is rare for a traffic jam. A total of 12 people died that day from a variety of factors – including heat stroke and asphyxiation from the fumes – making it potentially the deadliest traffic jam in history.
4. The Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, China, 2015
Any list of the biggest traffic jams in history is incomplete without an entry from China as it is notorious for its rush hour traffic. That’s weird too, because China happens to have the biggest roads in the world too. Imagine being stuck on a huge futuristic expressway for five hours with thousands – possibly tens of thousands in the larger cities – other commuters.
If that sounds bad, it is, although it can get a lot worse as all of this is just a regular Thursday night in many Chinese cities. In fact, the largest jams in Chinese history were so big that they could only be called “divine”.
Take the mile-long jam on the newly opened G4 The Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, which took place in 2016. While the idea was noble – giving people 50 lanes instead of the usual 20 – it created one of the worst bottlenecks ever on this highway. While there are no reliable reports on how long the traffic jam lasted, photos suggest it was wider and larger than any traffic jam most of us would ever see in our lives.
3. Moscow, 2012
Given how empty Russia is, one would assume that traffic is not a major problem there. They would also be largely accurate. Unless you’re talking about bigger cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, the country is surprisingly free of traffic problems.
Unless, of course, something goes terribly wrong, and that is exactly what happened in Moscow in 2012. Factors such as particularly heavy snowfall, traffic problems in other parts of the city and unusually high traffic resulted in perhaps the largest traffic jam in Russian history. If the stories are correct, it was there 120 miles long and lasted over three days. If that’s not a big deal, remember that one motorist reported they had covered a distance of just under a kilometer in more than 24 hours!
2. Sao Paulo, Brazil … The whole time
While most of the traffic jams on this list are one-off incidents that have occurred in the past, picking a single traffic jam in Sao Paulo would be a direct insult to the city’s long history of brutal, endless traffic jams that you would have Not In fact, some of the worst hit areas of the city may even be in a state of constant, unending traffic at some point.
Reports indicate that all rush hour queues in and out of the city are as long as 112 miles on average. Again, this is just a normal day in Sao Paulo. If there is a problem the lines can get up to 183 miles long, which is unknown in almost every other part of the world.
1. The ‘National Highway 110’ Jam, China, 2010
There is no way to classify the absolute largest traffic jam in human history. While some of them deserve a mention for their harsh conditions – like the Chicago jam – it took others a painfully long time to educate. in some cases more than 72 hours.
However, when we talk about the bare numbers, picking the largest ones is pretty easy traffic jam ever. It happened on the Beijing-Tibet highway in 2010 due to construction and other problems as it is also one of the widest and most trafficked roads in China.
That’s why it was just over 60 miles long, which sounds like a no-brainer when you read some of the other entries on this list. What makes it the worst in history, however, is its duration; The jam lasted over five days and we’re just talking about the high point here. Traffic problems were even reported a week after the whole thing was officially released.
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