There are few things in life as frustrating as being caught in a traffic jam. Trapped and forced to helplessly wait at a standstill, the sound of music drowned out by the back-and-forth honking of horns. According to a recent analysis done by INRIX, a company dedicated to analyzing traffic trends around the world, Americans spend an average of one hour a week stuck in traffic during their commutes. That may seem like a lot, but how about being gridlocked for days at a time? That’s what happened to some drivers during these legendarily bad traffic jams.
Bethel, New York – 1969
When most people think of Woodstock, stress and traffic aren’t the first things that come to mind. But the huge hippie festival caused a traffic jam that could easily turn feelings of peace and love to fury and regret. The three-day festival, which lasted from August 15 to 18, 1969, was a victim of its own success. Organizers expected the festival to attract 50,000 attendees, but 10 times that number showed up instead. And even more may have set up camp at Max Yasgur’s farm if it hadn’t been for the 20-mile-long traffic jam on the New York State Thruway that forced thousands to turn back. Others simply abandoned their cars altogether and walked to the venue. Most of the high-profile artists, worried they’d miss their sets, were helicoptered to and from the festival. Singer Joni Mitchell was scheduled to perform, but opted out due to traffic, for fear she’d miss a television appearance a few days later. She had to base her iconic song, “Woodstock,” on her boyfriend’s account of the legendary concert.
East & West Germany – 1990
The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 brought hope to a country that had been divided for decades. But while many…