In 2015 thousands of cars got stuck on a 50-lane Beijing highway when a new checkpoint closed 20 lanes, forcing everyone to merge. To make matter worse, the jam happened during the country's National Day celebrations, when an estimated 750 million people were expected to be traveling.
Lyon to Paris, France
What happens when hundreds of people are returning from their ski holidays in France? The longest traffic jam on record. According to Guinness World of Records, the longest traffic jam reported in history was 109 miles long, spanning from Lyon to Paris on February 16, 1980. The jam occurred on the French Autoroute as a result of highway congestion and poor weather.
Little is known about how long drivers were stuck in the French mess, but at a distance of 110 miles, slow speeds and poor weather, it's easy to assume that drivers would have been in the jam for several hours. Pretty sure after that mess anyone would need another ski vacation before returning to regular life.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Reported in Time magazine as the city with the world's worst traffic jams, Sao Paulo, Brazil, set a record with more than 182 miles of accumulated jams out of 522 miles monitored on June 10, 2009.
No matter the day of the week or the time of the day, the city faces severe congestion. Typically, the length of a traffic jam spans to 120 miles at peak hours with drivers spending up to three-to-four hours behind the wheel in traffic each day.
The cause of the extreme traffic rests in the rising economy and living standards. Skyrocketing amounts of commercial vehicles are sold each year, with approximately 1,000 new vehicles driving on the streets each day.
East to West German border
Coming in as the biggest traffic jam in history when recorded by the number of cars, on April 12, 1990, an estimated 18 million cars were knotted up at the East-West border in Germany. To put the numbers in perspective, on an average day only about 50,000 vehicles hit the highway each day.
Likely a pain in the butt for any of the 18 million drivers at the time, the traffic jam did have a pretty good reason behind it. At the same time, Germany was going through its reunification period in which East and West Germany became one.
Rivaling the 110-mile jam in Paris in 1980, a 100-mile traffic jam nearly broke the world record for traffic jam length when it halted thousands of drivers in Hamburg, Germany, in 1993.
While the traffic jam, which undoubtably stopped travelers for several hours, didn't break any world records, that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Really, when is a traffic jam ever a positive thing to deal with?
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