The World’s Worst Traffic Jams

If being stuck in traffic for a few minutes makes you blow your top then think of the poor souls who have wasted far more time in traffic jams than you have…

Sao Paulo 2009

Photo credit: Pedro Belleza

According to some sources this Brazilian city has the worst traffic in the world. Paulistanos can expect to run into 100 mile jams on a regular basis. In fact, back in the hazy, crazy days of June 2009 183 miles of road around the city were blocked, which some people call the biggest cumulative traffic queue in history.

Beijing 2010

Another place you should be glad you don’t commute to is Beijing. It seems that residents generally spend hours in traffic jams but August of 2010 was extra special, and not in a good way6. 62 miles of traffic queue took 12 days to clear, with many people only covering a couple of miles on some days and taking up to 5 days to get clear of the traffic. The giant jam was caused by roadworks which resulted in chaos, with thefts and extortion reportedly adding to woes of the hapless drivers.

Houston 2005

Photo credit: epSos .de

If you can imagine 2 and a half million people getting into their cars at roughly the same time and going in pretty much the same direction you get the idea of this monumental traffic jam. The city’s residents were trying to get away from the onrushing Hurricane Rita and caused a 100 mile jam. It took a couple of days for some people to get clear while other turned round and went home.

Tokyo 1990

The Japanese capital is said to have horrific traffic at the best of times but in August of 1990 things got really hectic. The combination of Typhoon Winona and workers returning from their simmer holidays caused 84 miles of tailback involving 15,000 vehicles.

Germany 1990

During a long Easter break just after the reunification of East and West Germany some 18 million cars tried to cross the border. Normally about 50 thousand vehicles crossed there each day and the resulting mayhem when this number increased enormously is classed as the biggest traffic jam in history in terms of the number of cars going nowhere fast.

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