We know that today and tomorrow, traffic is going to be brutal. With 42 million people traveling for the holiday – and 94 percent of them going by car – it’s inevitable that someone’s going to wind up frustrated. Throw in some nasty weather and highway construction, not to mention a handful of screaming kids, and you have a formula for misery.
Can it get any worse? The Weather Channel thinks so. Not every holiday driving experience is equally miserable: in fact, there are 10 spots where you’re extra likely to lose your mind. So, let’s take a peek at the 10 most congested roads in the country, according to The Weather Channel:
This is going to suck. You have a lot of people in New York City and a lot in Washington, DC. There are also a lot in between … and so many of them will be getting behind the wheel. To make matters worse, The Weather Channel notes, “Bad weather is not uncommon along this corridor during Thanksgiving week.” Not enough abuse for you? The company adds, “Some experts estimate that this 225-mile trek is the slowest stretch of highway nationwide during the holiday season.”
2. Boston: Westbound Massachusetts Turnpike from Downtown Boston to I-84
At first glance, I wondered why the New York-to-DC stretch didn’t include Boston. I grew up there and spent many a Thanksgiving Eve sitting in the back seat not moving on the Mass Pike en route to I-84. It’s awful, and The Weather Channel’s comment, “it has been known to come to a virtual standstill,” is not an exaggeration.
3. Chicago: Borman Expressway I-80/I-94, the Tri-State Tollway
The Weather Channel calls this “the trifecta of traffic tie-ups,” because three roads with heavy traffic intersect. The big rigs that use these highways make it even worse. Good luck if this is your route for Thanksgiving.
4. New York City: Throgs Neck Bridge, Whitestone Bridge
Yeah, the Big Apple makes a second appearance on this list. There’s a reason why I’m staying put on the Upper West Side this year. If you’re looking to get from the city out to Long Island or up to Connecticut, don’t be fooled by this “key choke point,” as The Weather Channel describes it: built to “help relieve traffic on the adjacent Whitestone Bridge,” the Throgs Neck has now become a nightmare in its own right.
5. San Francisco: Eastbound I-80 to Sacramento and Tahoe
Are you among the masses dashing out of San Fancisco for Thanksgiving? If you’re looking to get an early feel for winter … well, you’ll quickly realize you weren’t the only person with this idea.
6. Atlanta: I-285 between I-75 and I-85 … in Both Directions
Six major interstates cut through Atlanta, and I-285 is the busiest of them, thanks to two million daily drivers. Throw in the extra traffic for the holidays, and you can expect to see this southern city from under an overpass or across the median. Build a few extra playlists if you’re driving this stretch of road.
7. Washington, DC: I-495 from Merrifield, VA to Landover, MD
Like New York, DC makes The Weather Channel’s list of congested roads twice. The Beltway, which is only 30 miles long, can take two hours on a normal day. Now, add angry, confused or simply stupid holiday travelers … and wait for hilarity to ensue.
8. Dallas: I-35
Are you among the 3.5 million people who will make I-35 a pain this holiday season? Drive with the windows down, maybe you’ll get the chance to make a new friend while you wait … and wait … and wait.
9. Detroit: Northbound Where US-23 and I-75 Merge
Near Flint, you’ll find plenty of people at this spot who are looking to go north for the winter. Blame the “cabin owners, resort seekers and deer hunters.”
10. Miami: The Palmetto Expressway (Near Miami Airport)
The Weather Channel calls this “one of the most heavily traveled roads in the Miami area,” and you can expect it to get backed up from Okeechobee Road to south of the Dolphin Expressway. If you’re either flying in or picking up someone who is, leave a bottle of Advil on the dashboard: you’ll need it.
[photo by FontFont via Flickr]