NYC traffic is awful, but is it the nation's worst?

With the pandemic phase of COVID-19 appearing to come to an end, more and more people are out and about.

And that means they're clogging up America's roads.

Some U.S. cities have seen a pretty significant increase in traffic within the last eight months between July 2021 and March 2022, according to data from Waze.

As American families, couples, friends and others set out on spring and summer road trips across the country this year, it's smart to avoid extra bumper-to-bumper frustration in the following cities — that's always the best route.

Here are five cities experiencing the worst traffic hikes of late, as shared with Fox News Digital by Waze.

1. Washington, D.C.

Maybe it's no surprise, but the nation’s capital tops the list for the highest traffic increase in recent times.

Traffic in Washington, D.C., was recorded as 12.5% higher in March 2022 than during last July. In one month, from February to March 2022 alone, traffic in D.C. jumped 16.2%.

Some traffic clogs have been the result of consistent activism efforts, such as the U.S. truckers convoy tour into D.C. in March and climate protests last December.

2. Houston, Texas

Houston, we have a (traffic) problem.            

The Texas city came in at no. 2 for the highest traffic hike — marking an 11.8% increase between July and March.

Houston has also seen a major increase in new residents flocking to the city within the last few years. More people means less space on the road.

Single-family home sales rose 7.1% in January 2022 compared to 2021, with 6,451 units sold, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

3. New York City, New York

It's the city that never sleeps … and (almost) never moves during rush-hour traffic.

Although heavy backups on the road are not a new thing for New York City, the traffic has increased by 9% over the last eight months.

The number of NYC companies welcoming back their employees to the office has climbed back up to above 30%, according to data from property management firm Kastle System.

Inevitably, that means more cars on city roads, bridges and tunnels.

4. Chicago, Illinois

Though the Windy City saw a decrease in traffic over the last few seasons, Chicago experienced a major spike from February to March 2022.

Over that one-month period, traffic in Chicago increased by 12.3%.

While large numbers of drivers heading into one of America’s biggest metropolitan areas will spike traffic, other elements such as farm animals have caused recent traffic jams, too. For example, on Tuesday, a group of cows were on the loose on I-80 following a three-vehicle crash.

5. Los Angeles, California

It’s no surprise that Los Angeles — a city well-known for its roadway congestion — made the top five on this list.

L.A. saw a 4% increase in traffic from July to March, and an even steeper hike of 5.9% from February to March 2022.

The large population in Los Angeles naturally leads to more cars on the road, but recent celebrity antics are to blame as well. 

Last week, rapper Polo G stirred up some controversy after he stopped traffic to film a music video in the middle of a Los Angeles roadway.