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What Was the Worst Traffic Jam?

The worst traffic jam in terms of duration occurred on the Beijing-Tibet expressway in Beijing, China, in August 2010 — and lasted for 12 days. The traffic congestion was so bad, it took some vehicles as long as three days to travel the 62-mile (100 km) expressway. Although some of the worst traffic jams in history have been caused by emergency evacuations, the particular jam on the Beijing-Tibet expressway was simply congestion from too many vehicles and did not have a discernible cause. The longest traffic jam in terms of distance was one that stretched for 109 miles (175.41 km) in Lyons-Paris in February 1980, and it was caused by vacationers returning to the city.

More about traffic:

  • Traffic jams in Sao Paulo, Brazil, last about four hours each day, on average.

  • After the collapse of the Berlin Wall dividing East Germany and West Germany on 12 April 1990, traffic increased from its normal 500,000 vehicles to an estimated 18 million vehicles and caused one of the worst traffic jams of all time.

  • The average American is estimated to spend two weeks each year sitting in traffic.

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