The 10 Biggest Traffic Jams Ever

Cue up the Spotify. We’re going to be here a while.

The Woodstock Music and Art Festival is remembered—hazily—by millions as a mass migration of hippies. With plenty of good “food” and music in the air, over 500,000 flocked to upstate New York to enjoy three days of… mud. Throughout the festival, the New York Thruway was overloaded, and a three-day, eight-mile traffic jam (pun very much intended) ensued.Paul DeMaria/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
When the Berlin Wall began to come down in 1989 and cross-checkpoint roads were restored, East and West Germany were no longer divided and the people of Berlin could reunite. So when Easter week rolled around in 1990, over 18 million cars took to the roadways to celebrate with long-lost family and friends, causing autobahns to become parking lots.ADN-Bildarchiv/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Evacuation orders are intended to ensure the safety of the general population, not necessarily their convenience. As category-5 Hurricane Rita barreled toward Galveston, millions of Texans were ordered to leave their homes and flee inland. Everyone took a fancy to Interstate 45, and a massive jam ensued. After nine hours, motorists were only able to move 10 to 20 milesDave Einsel/Getty Images
Honey, let’s pack up the car and head back to Paris. I miss the Eiffel Tower and don’t care for these climes. This is what thousands of French families said in February of 1980 during an inclement-weather migration back to Paris. The result: a record-shattering, 109-mile traffic jam. Sacre merde!Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Let’s travel back to the boiling summer of 2003 in N.Y.C. The streets are at peak smelly, every A/C unit is working overtime and residents are still on edge after 9/11. Now let's take electricity out of the equation. With a power cut stemming from line failures in distant Ohio, the city was left without street lamps and traffic signals, resulting in hot, sweaty gridlock that extended in some areas deep into the weekend.Robin Platzer/FilmMagic
Chicago is no stranger to the cold and seemingly never-ending gusts of wind, but 20-plus inches of snow on Lake Shore Drive was simply beyond the pale. As snow and wind pounded the area, thousands of cars were left stranded on Lake Shore Drive for over 12 hours, as motorists sought warmth of the brick-and-mortar variety.Scott Olson/Getty Images
The Blizzard of ’78 absolutely rocked New England. Producing upwards of 40 inches of snow, the storm left thousands of people stranded in their cars across the region, particularly Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Nearly 100 people lost their lives, thousands of cars were destroyed and the two states were left a frozen shambles.Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Wherein the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Highway grinded to an 11-day halt. Due to a combination of heavy roadwork and frequent vehicle breakdowns, the highway became over congested and eventually stopped flowing. Drivers were forced to sleep, eat, shower and… do other things in their vehicles.STR/AFP/Getty Images
As China’s Golden Week came to a close, the expected 750 million vacationers began to head home, many of them opting to travel on the G4 Expressway. Due to new checkpoints and tolls, 50 lanes were distilled down to 20, resulting in the ultimate bottleneck.ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
Brazil’s largest city by population and area stands tall when it comes to crippling traffic jams, not that that’s anything to brag about. Every day, paulistas have to endure hours of traffic just to cross the city. On a bad day, traffic jams can span up to 183 miles. Heavy. Luiz Guarnier/News Free/LatinContent/Getty Images