There are about 265 million vehicles in the United States. Though the country is certainly large enough for all these vehicles, many of the most popular metros don’t have the necessary space. Daily traffic congestion can be quite annoying, but it can also be just as dangerous. No one wants to wait in a traffic standstill for hours on end before or after work — but getting in an accident is a much more serious problem.
Nearly 1.25 million people die in vehicle crashes each year, averaging 3,287 deaths per day. For the most part, traffic congestion causes much more fender benders than fatal accidents, but it only takes one person driving erratically to cause serious crashes.
There isn’t a stretch of roadway in the U.S. that isn’t dangerous, but there certainly are high-traffic areas that experience a significant amount of car accidents, ranging in severity. The United States Census Bureau reports that the average American spends 26 minutes getting to work but some cities are much — much — worse. Here are some of the worst cities across the U.S. with the worst traffic:
- Washington, D.C. — Average commute time for all commuters: 34.3 minutes. According to Inrix, a company that provides traffic data for cities all over the globe, D.C. was the 6th most congested city in the nation in 2016. During that year, drivers spent an estimated 11% of their driving time in traffic congestion.D.C. does have a strong and healthy transit system that includes several subway lines, but due to rising housing costs in and around the city, thousands of families have been forced deep into the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland, having to commute to work each day. Now, 76.1% of D.C. commuters drive their own vehicle for about 75 hours a year.
- New York City, New York — Average commute time for all commuters: 34.7 minutes. There is a perception that no one in NYC owns a vehicle, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, 56.9% of commuters drive their own vehicle every day across the Big Apple.
- Los Angeles, California — Average commute time for all commuters: 28.9 minutes. In 2018, about 32.35 million people moved in the United States. Across the country, millions of people dream of living in Los Angeles. Every year, tens of thousands of people make that move and hope to start a new, sun-filled life. However, it’s not all glitz and glam. It’s a lot of sitting in traffic. LA drivers lose an average of 128 hours a year in congestion — at least there are some nice views while they wait.
- Boston, Massachusetts — Average commute time for all commuters: 29.7 minutes.. Similar to NYC, Boston is filled with people, expensive real estate, and congested roadways. Boston drivers lose an average of 164 hours a year due to traffic congestion.
- Jersey City, New Jersey — Average commute time for all commuters: 35.6 minutes. NYC is located so close to Jersey City, which has its pros and cons. Pro: one of the most entertaining cities in the entire world is only a few miles away. Con: it takes forever to get there because of the traffic. In many cases across Jersey and NYC, public transit commuting is actually much quicker.
“Traffic congestion is a fact of life for every driver — and this year’s Traffic Index results show that the problem isn’t going away,” said
Nick Cohn, Senior Traffic Expert at TomTom. “Although it’s no surprise that cities like Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco continue to rank at the top of the list as the most congested cities in the U.S. due to various factors, we’ve been pleased to uncover some positive developments in cities like Portland and Salt Lake City, which might serve as examples for other cities.”