10 Congested highways to make you lose your mind tonight

Traffic: 10 most congested roads for Thanksgiving driving travelWe 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:


1. New York City to Washington, DC: I-95
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]

On the road with the Lincoln MKS

When Ford contacted us about taking Lincoln’s new MKS out for a test drive, I thought that they had the wrong website. Autoblog, our sister site, takes care of all things automotive, and they would certainly be better equipped to handle a test drive. And in addition to being an airplane person, well, I’m not a very good driver.

But they made a good point: everyone on Autoblog has seen the MKS a dozen times and travelers go on road trips too. The content is just as valid. Further, since I was driving across the state of Michigan several times for Easter weekend I had ample time to test the vehicle out. So I agreed to take a look. But I made no promises about editorial content.

For those (myself included) among us that are not in the vehicle testing circles, I first have to comment on the kick of getting a test vehicle delivered. A third party company in the greater Detroit area handles the entire transaction, calling you before delivery and dropping off the vehicle wherever you want. They came to my office one sunny morning with a Mercury chase car and a pleasant woman tossed me a set of keys, asked me to sign a form and disappeared within five minutes. I was left with a bright red MKS for the weekend to do with as I pleased. Road tripping across Michigan over several days seemed like a good opportunity to acquaint myself.

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As luxury vehicles go, the MKS has all of the amenities that one comes to expect: a smooth, quiet ride, powerful V6 engine, heated and cooled comfortable, leather seats, wood trim, push-button starting and embedded navigation. Where I was surprised was in the features above and beyond.

Microsoft Sync is installed in the vehicle, and navigating though the touch screen AV system I was easily able to link up my iPhone via it’s Bluetooth link. Thus, for the duration of the trip when someone called the phone in my pocket the music automatically turned down and the call when through the speakers. Similarly, if I wanted to make a call I just pressed the talk button on the steering wheel and annunciated “DIAL” etc etc. Audio quality was decent, and I only lost one caller who happened to be inside of the noisy Detroit Metro Airport.

In fact, much of the interior control was handled from the steering wheel, including adjustment and selection of the MP3 audio system that I was constantly grazing about. It’s a nice feature that many manufacturers overlook.

Though hardly necessary, there is also a backup camera and very sensitive parking system that automatically beeps with increasing intensity as you approach a stationary object. This makes parallel parking a breeze, though it’s strange getting used to looking down instead of behind you when backing up.

Part of the MKS features I learned from the simple transition from my Audi TT – that is, the complete opposite in suspension and handling. Pulling onto I-94 on my maiden voyage to Buffalo Wild Wings, I got up to cruising speed and proceeded to start messing with the navigation. Only when my passenger pointed out that I was driving 95MPH did I realize that I was speeding – I had assumed my normal “comfort speed” as tuned to the TT on the expressway. That same vibration and feel was 20 MPH faster in the MKS.

Of the road trip? I enjoyed seamless navigation, an excellent ride and ultimate comfort as I drove from Ann Arbor to Kalamazoo to South Haven to Flint to Detroit in a head turning, modern car. My weekend couldn’t have been spent in a better piece of machinery. Oh and about the bad driver comment? I was lucky enough to get through the entire state without getting any speeding tickets or bumping into anything. My girlfriend? Not so lucky.

Flint police cracks down on sagging pants

Traveling to Flint, Michigan anytime soon? Better keep those pants up!

Flint’s new police chief is planning to crack down on sagging pants that expose too much skin (or boxers.) Chief David Dicks feels that “this immoral `self expression’ goes beyond freedom of expression; it rises to the crime of indecent exposure/disorderly persons.”

Under the order, anyone with exposed buttocks could be arrested on “a misdemeanor charge of being a disorderly person, punishable by up to a $500 fine and three months in jail.”

Hmm, I wonder why they don’t fine girls for wearing thong-exposing low-cut jeans?

GADLING’S TAKE FIVE: Week of October 29

Gadling LogoThe moment you have all been waiting for has arrived at last. An unforgettable week… The most amazing things in blogging history, right here, now… It’s Gadling’s Take Five!!! A little too dramatic? I agree. Let’s just get to what you missed.

5. Star Locator:
Here’s a gear piece for all camp-loving individuals who like to stare off into starry nights, but have trouble finding popular constellations like Orion’s Belt. Maybe you just want to take a glimpse at Mars… Now you can do so with this handy dandy gadget, but you’ll have to visit this one yourself. It’s really rather cool!

4. On Stebastopol:
I’ve never heard of Stebastopol and if someone had asked me prior to reading this piece I would have told them it was in Estonia somewhere. Who says travel bloggers know it all? Stebastopol is mentioned here by Erik who passed through not too long ago and also mentioned by Outside Magazine. They say it’s one of the great towns to live in… Hmm…

3. Get Paid to Travel to Iran:

Someone please sign me up for this promotion! How bad I want to travel to the country of Iran I cannot say, but it looks as though they are making more efforts to bring tourists from the West on in to show them they aren’t as dangerous as the media makes them seem. Travel agents – encourage people to travel to Iran and you could be making some extra cash.

2. Bad English:
This is a book all of us might want to pick up, because in my mind bad English is everywhere, including in English speaking countries. Get your quick laughs about goof-ups found across the globe, but I urge you to spell check yourself and make sure your grammar is on point. You’ll probably find that some foreigners are better at grammar usage than you. I have from time to time.

1. Most Dangerous U.S. Cities:
Pack a glock if you find yourself headed to St. Louie, Flint, or Detroit anytime soon. These three just ranked tops in most dangerous U.S. cities. Okay, don’t pack a glock or any kind of weapon, but do look at the list to see why all the violence. You may be surprised where your own city ranks.

Most Dangerous U.S. Cities

St. LouisHere’s a news story I’d like to first dedicate to my father who seems to lose his wits any time I mention travel overseas. Sure the places I go aren’t always high traffic areas or flooded by tourists, but that doesn’t necessarily classify them as dangerous. What I’m really trying to say is you can be smiley and friendly anywhere you go, but just watch your back as well. And to my father who I’m sure will read this blurb at one point or another – perhaps it’s time to consider relocating. According to this CNN piece St. Louis has been officially named most dangerous U.S. City.

It was only a matter of time before St. Louis, Missouri took the number one spot. The city had been lurking in the top 10 for quite several years and with a surge in violent crimes this year it took the lead over other dangerous locals such as Detroit, MI in second, Flint, MI coming in third place and good old Compton, Cali right up there in fourth. As for St. Louie vthe murder rate jumped 16 percent from 2004 to 2005. That’s quite a hike in the wrong direction. At the moment I happen to be sitting in the confines of my hotel room in the second most dangerous city (Detroit) and yet all feels safe at this late hour, however I’m glad to know my present hometown of Tampa, FL didn’t make the top 10 dangerous city list. On the flipside it also didn’t make the top 10 safest either which include Brick, NJ in first; Amherst, NY in second; and Mission Viejo, CA in third.

So are there any Gadling readers out there residing in the top 10 of either list? Please share your thoughts and let us know if it really is all bang-bang, shoot em’ and kill or butterflies and roses.

To see the full story head to CNN.