Top 5 Most Crowded Highways in the U.S.

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For some unfortunate drivers, bumper-to-bumper traffic, congested lanes, and significant delays are a part of the daily commute. But while some heavy traffic is to be expected during morning and afternoon commutes in urban areas—hey, after all, there are hundreds of millions of drivers in the U.S.—some highways in particular take the cake for causing nightmare backlogs and delays. These are highways you’ll want to avoid if you plan on actually driving faster than you can walk.

5 I-90 (Illinois)

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The Midwest can’t let California have all of the fun. It lays its claim to travel nightmare fame with the Illinois portion of I-90, the longest interstate highway in the United States, running from Seattle to Boston. In Illinois, each day more than 300,000 drivers clog up I-90’s lanes, creating plenty of headaches on bridges and at interchanges and entrance and exit ramps. Old age is at fault here: I-90 was built over 50 years ago, and traffic has been increasing ever since. But in the coming years the ill-famed I-90 may not be so heavily cursed, because current construction plans are re-designing the highway so that it can handle not only its current traffic, but an additional 30,000 vehicles each day.

4 I-5 (California)

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Not to be completely outshone by I-405 and R-60, California’s I-5 corridor—which runs from the Mexican border to Oregon—also has a place in our list, with 334,000 drivers hitting its roads and cursing at each other each day. Also known as the Golden State Freeway, on the I-5 you’ll have a great opportunity to make awkward eye contact with the driver next to you, tailgate the little old lady in front of you, and shout obscenities at drivers who don’t know how to merge in a considerate manner. But don’t despair: California’s transportation department is currently investing more than $2 billion to make improvements that will reduce traffic congestion and road rage.

3 Route 60 (California)

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Another Los Angeles-area highway graces the top five worst highways. This time it’s Route 60, coming in third place due to some ongoing construction actually making slow and subtle improvements to how the highway handles traffic. Equally cursed by drivers east and west of the popular and confusing I-215 & SR-91 interchange, Route 60 is an ideal driving spot if you prefer spending your daily commute sitting in traffic with 337,000 other drivers and watching your gas gauge go down as you go nowhere.

2 I-405 (California)

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California’s I-405, aka “the 405,” runs through Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Ana and is traveled by approximately 374,000 vehicles each day. Nearly half a million vehicles on a highway built decades before urban development placed so many demands on it—well, you’ve got heavy traffic and delay-induced headaches. As many of its regular drivers often quip, on the 405 you’ll go four or five miles an hour and subsequently get somewhere in four or five hours. Good luck!

1 Interstate 95

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I-95 takes the not-so-coveted top spot: it’s a stretch of highway that runs from the northeast Canadian border all the way down to Florida. And you’ll find plenty of problems along its 2,000 miles of asphalt: stretches of decades-old highway not built for today’s traffic demands, which leads to construction and general heavy traffic and delays around rush hour. If you plan on hitting this highway in urban areas, particularly around New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or Washington, D.C., consider bringing along a book and some snacks.

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