Worst highways in the USA


#1

I thought you’d like to see this report about the waste and horrible annoyance of the worst traffic spots in the country. I thought Houston was bad, but LA is by far the worst. It was a good read, enjoy!


#2

They’re correct about the stretch in Seattle. And it truly does feel like I’m wasting about a million hours a year in traffic. On average it takes me 2.5 hours to go 30 miles south on I5, passing through that bottle neck. That’s right 2.5 hours to go 30 miles. On average.

It’s like some kind of macabre Chinese water torture. And Seattle’s only ranked 17th.


#3

This is what #25 looks like from the air with hardly any traffic. It’s a bitch and a half to get through it though. It’s awful.


#4

Oh, look who’s first…by a wide margin, no less!


#5

I’m “lucky”… Somehow I avoid all those Los Angeles snake pits. Traffic still sucks – especially in the last year or so (perhaps people are taking longer detours to avoid the bottlenecks)


#6

There was an article a while back - you can blame Waze for traffic sucking differently but still sucking. Neighborhoods are changing because people are speeding through serene places they never used to know about.


#7

Every time I have to drive through Chicago, I get stuck in traffic. It matters not what day of the week or hour of day.

Not freeway related, but I’ve been stuck in traffic in Ann Arbor for 1.5 hours to go less than 6 miles. Say what you will about LA freeways, but at least the sky doesn’t randomly drop 6" of snow on them just before the afternoon rush.


#8

Yup. I know several families that got stuck OVERNIGHT on Lake Shore Drive (not even on that list) going home from school because of a sudden snow dump that went very bad. Sometimes the “lake effect” makes things worse rather than better.


#9

That made national news. Pretty terrible. The worst part is that almost no one in the city proper has a snowmobile. In Minnesota when people get stuck on the freeways, rescue by snowmobile isn’t far behind. Assuming you weren’t keeping a pair of snowshoes or x-country skis in your car. :wink:

[Yes, we’re weird people in the snowzone with weird stuff in our cars half the year.]


#10

And where exactly would an inner city Chicagoan keep a snowmobile? :smile: There’s a reason our car is as tiny as possible while still being relatively safe to drive in the Snow Belt of Indiana (talk about “lake effect”!).

At least most of us know to keep sand or kitty litter in the back during the winter, and a few emergency supplies like a blanket and candle (a votive can actually warm up a car for several hours with minimal loss of oxygen). But I’m always amazed at the number of people driving on bald, non-winter tires. If you can’t afford/don’t have room to store a second set of tires, make sure the one set on your car has some tread, people!


#11

All of what you’re both writing is odd. I lived in VT for 25 years. In winter, I drove a Subaru with studded tires. I could, and did, drive it through 10 inches of wet snow, up a steep incline with an ice layer on top and ice underneath and it did fine. More than about 10 inches and the snow would pile too much in the wheel wells. But I could drive through up to 10 inches, no problems.

Overnight due to being stuck in snow? LOL, not in VT. The worst we faced were trees fallen across the road. For that, we got out the ax we keep in the trunk. And if you own a truck, the spare chainsaw you keep behind the seat. I awoke many a time in the middle of the night to the rumble of a chainsaw out front of my house. I’d put on slippers, grab my gloves, go down and help the guy drag brush out of the way so he could get home.

The worst driving in the north country was either black ice before the town could put down sand. Or worse than that is rain after freezing rain. Even if they put down sand, running water would carry it away and polish the road.

In that case, there was only one thing you could try, because even studded tires would not allow you safe passage up or down hills. You could put your right side wheels in the small zone of crunchy stuff at the side of the road, being careful not to go too far into the ditch or you’d slide right in. You have to slow way down to about 1 mph, creeping barely and partially braking to slow yourself if you’re pointed downhill. There is usually a narrow band of icy, crunchy, snow/gravel crap over there about a tire’s width and you can hope & pray it holds your wheels. It doesn’t always work, but if you’re desperate, it’s the last thing you can try.


#12

I’m convinced Dan Ryan was the Worst Human Ever, why else would they create something named for him that everyone hates and curses daily when they hear its name?


#13

The issue is when the idiot in front of you freaks out and stops their car, causing you to stop and lose all momentum. Then you’re both just stuck spinning your wheels. Your VT driving likely didn’t have many people on the road.

The problem isn’t your Subaru, it’s the Hyundai three cars in front.


#14

LOL, you just posted a picture of all the cars in Vermont.


#15

LOL: all of what you’re writing is odd! (OK, not really, since I’m also used to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana, especially rural areas).

Studded tires are illegal here. A house with a huge driveway and garage? In the city? A big-assed truck that takes up twice the space when parallel parking, and can’t squeeze by double-parked cars or garbage trucks? Surely you jest!

And why would city folk buy and maintain a chainsaw for the unlikely possibility that sometime over the course of 10 or 20 years they might find themselves in a position of needing to cut through a downed tree instead of backing up and taking a different cross street to get where they want to go?

Chicago is funny, because we’re the biggest city in the U.S. that gets real winter weather. So you see things like women wearing heavy coats but then stiletto heels and no hat or gloves. We want to act like the cosmopolitan city that we are, but Mother Nature just laughs at us.


#16

This. Sartre was right: hell is other people!

Especially when driving.


#17

One of my favorite New York stories is from a friend from Michigan. He’s dozing away on a Saturday and is awakened by a car below his window spinning their wheels. It’s wintertime, so the steam heat is typically oppressive and one usually has their windows open an inch to regulate the heat. So after about ten minutes he puts on his robe and his sneakers and goes downstairs.

He knocks on her window and she rolls it down an inch.
“I’m trying to sleep. I’m from Michigan, let me get your car out for you.”
“You’ll steal it!”
“I’m in a bathrobe, how far am I going to get?”

She slides over and he hops in the front seat, five seconds later she’s out and he goes back upstairs.


#18

Yup, Southern CA traffic really does suck. Couple that with the fact that I drive a stick-shift and you’ll understand why I hate driving.


#19

I grew up with Snowbird grandparents and many a winter road trip to Florida from Toronto was taken in my Mom’s Chevette (complete with 3 kids, the dog, and the cat, and once a tropical tree frog) - one year when we reached Virginia during a snow storm the state Troopers had started closing the highways but they let my Mom through after she told the Trooper “…we’re from Canada…” :wink:


#20

Indiana, west of Michigan City, is the only place I’ve ever been caught in a total white-out. I couldn’t see the red tail lights of the semi less than 15’ in front of me.

@awjt: Try to keep in mind that the entire population of Vermont is less than 10% of Chicagoland’s population. That makes a tremendous difference in your ability to get outta Dodge when it snows.

(True confessions time, I don’t have winter tires. It doesn’t snow enough at a time here to matter. All-season is all you need here. The tires on the Prius are also getting perilously close to bald, but can probably still wait until spring to get replaced. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)