Driving is supposed to be fun. Imagine telling your ancestors about the possibility to hurtle around town in a metal box at three times the speed of the average horse. Okay, so they’d probably be terrified at first – but after an easy cruise along an open, blue-skied motorway, your great-great-great grandma would probably get the idea.
Unfortunately, those open motorways are in short supply. Motorists have filled the roads with slow-moving metal boxes and named it ‘traffic.’ And fun is in short supply, too. Instead, a slow road when you’re in a hurry causes stress, road rage, and more. The fatigue of all that stopping and starting leads to mistakes, a short temper, and further stress. One study found that commuting during rush hour causes your blood pressure to spike. Another even found that domestic violence rises in times of high traffic.
Whether you’re a commuter, hauler, or just have somewhere to be, FleetLogging wants you to take the least stressful route. We analyzed nearly 60,000 tweets containing the word ‘traffic,’ using the TensiStrength tool to identify the roads, cities, and states that cause the most stress in the UK and US. (As a side note: never tweet while driving, people!)
● The UK city with the most stressed drivers is Telford, where 83.3% of traffic-oriented tweets are stressed.
● Lubbock in Texas is the city with the most stressed drivers in the US, with a 75% stress rate.
● Rhode Island is the US state with the highest density of stressed traffic-themed tweets (62.18%).
● The I-95 in Miami is America’s most stressful road, with 86.96% of tweets that mention traffic on this road exhibiting signs of stress.
● The UK’s most stressful road is the A12 between London and Lowestoft, with a 92.86% stress rate.
Icy Winter Causes Texas City Road Stress
Our first interactive shows the most traffic-stressed cities in the UK and US. Click the tab to switch between countries.
The American city where traffic causes the most stress is Lubbock in Texas. We found that three-quarters of all traffic-themed tweets from Lubbock showed signs of stress. The city suffered harsh icy conditions this winter. Delays were caused by slower, safer drivers and the road closures that accompany major collisions. The city suffered a glut of fatal accidents early in 2021, leading traffic police to up their vigilance against reckless drivers.
The UK’s most stressed traffic participants can be found in the city of Telford. The city’s drivers are significantly more stressed than those of second-placed Brighton & Hove in the South East (83.3%
Vs. 71.4%). The Green Party in Brighton and Hove have committed to lowering motor traffic, boosting cycling, and expanding green areas in a bid to improve the area for everyone.
Tiny Rhode Island Packed with Slow-Moving Vehicles
Our heat map illustrates the most stressful states for traffic in the US. Colder colors indicate a lower density of stressed tweets; hotter colors indicate more stress.
America’s smallest state is also the second-most densely populated one – and has the nation’s most stressed drivers. Rhode Island has a traffic stress rate of 62.18%. Roadworks such as the closure of Manville Bridge in Lincoln (which normally carries 8,000 cars each day) have exacerbated the problem of the state’s already overpopulated roadways.
Utah has the lowest traffic stress, a full 6% less than the second mellowest state, Iowa. The state of Utah is celebrated for its leisure routes and was recently declared America’s best state for driving due to a low fatality rate and low cars-to-road-mileage ratio.
London’s A12 Is Most Stressful Road in UK or US
Imagine if journeys were measured in stress levels rather than mileage! Our radial graphs below illustrate the most stressed road in the UK and US.
FleetLogging’s recent study of the rush hours of major cities declared London to have the boggiest escape routes in the world. Guess what? London is also home to eight of the UK’s nine most stressful roads. The A12 takes the crown (92.9%). This dual carriageway begins just north of the River Thames and leads (slowly) through the counties of Essex and Suffolk to Lowestoft on the east coast. Previous plaudits for the A12 include “the most dangerous road in Essex” and “Britain’s worst road.”
Interstate 95 from Miami, Florida, is America’s most stressed road, with an 86.96% stress rate. The I-95 is “built like a back road and one crash completely paralyzes traffic” according to one angry tweeter. But roads in Georgia and California dominate the stress hit list. A spate of highway shootings in Atlanta, including two on America’s second-most stressful road (I-85), may or may not have been a response to traffic stress – but the investigations certainly slowed local commuters.
It’s not always possible to avoid the traffic, but if you can – you should. Scientists found that every minute longer it takes you to get to work will add to your dissatisfaction in life. Not good news when you’re already feeling stressed! If you must navigate busy roads or cities when you travel, try deep breathing, singing, and even smiling to keep stress at bay. Another angry driver on the road just adds to the problem.
METHODOLOGY & SOURCES
Using Twitter API we collected 57,282 tweets that featured the keyword “traffic” written in English and posted in either the US or the UK. We removed tweets from traffic update accounts.
Then using the TensiStrength tool, we classified every tweet as stressed or not.
To detect the location of each tweet, we referred to the post coordinates (where it was added) or the location mentioned in their profile.
To get the breakdown by roads, we first took the lists of most congested roads from the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard for the UK and the USA, this Wikipedia list of UK motorways, this Wikipedia list of roads in London, and this list from the Office of Highway Policy Information of the most traveled urban highways in America.
Then we extracted tweets that contain the names of those roads.
Data were collected in January 2021.