Celebrate America’s independence by sitting in traffic. Yes, it’s worse than ever.

By Melissa Locker

If you’re planning on hitting the road for your Fourth of July celebrations on Wednesday, expect to sit in good old-fashioned red, white, and blue traffic. July 3 is expected to be the worst day for travel delays overall over the holiday, according to predictions from AAA and INRIX, a travel and traffic analytics company.

This year, 41.4 million Americans will be traveling by car to celebrate America’s Independence Day, and drivers hitting the road in major urban areas on Wednesday could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, while nationwide, delays are expected to increase by approximately 9%. New York City, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, and Seattle are all projected to see delays at least three times longer than normal at the busiest travel times.

While Wednesday, July 3, is expected to be the worst day for travel delays overall, don’t think you’re being clever by traveling on July 4—many cities will see the worst travel on Independence Day, because nothing says America quite like guzzling gas while going nowhere and listening to the kids chant “USA! USA!” while trapped in the back seat.

Sadly, for many cities, traffic jams will be just as bad when returning from holiday road trips. Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago are expected to hit peak bad traffic on Friday, July 5, while people traveling to Washington, D.C. to watch tanks roll down Pennsylvania Avenue sit on the grass on the National Mall—or protest the tanks on the National Mall—can expect to be repaid for their patriotism by sitting in Beltway traffic on Sunday morning.


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