No, it's not just in your head. What was known to almost every Israeli sitting behind the wheel is now global news - transportation in Israel is deteriorating, ranking third slowest in the world according to a new study published on the British transportation economics website, Moneybarn.
With 49 countries under the microscope, experts examined various data points, such as road congestion levels, average number of traffic jams per month, average driving speed, and other parameters.
Israel received an overall score of 7.35 out of 10 in the ranking of the most congested countries. Only Peru and Romania were ranked lower, so not all is lost, perhaps.
"Israel completes the trio of the slowest countries in the world," wrote the British website. "One of the reasons for its ranking is a situation of 17 difficult traffic jam days per year and 40% of moderate traffic congestion on most days."
The researchers gave Israel's roads a score of 4.9 out of 10, noting that "cutting across the country would not be advised, as certain disputed areas of Israel are littered with unexploded land mines."
It appears road congestion is the one parameter dragging Israel down the list, placing it fifth from the bottom after Peru, Romania, India, and the Philippines. The number of days with high traffic density, standing at 17, ranks Israel in eighth place, preceded by Italy and Belgium, among others. The number of days with moderate traffic in Israel is 31.
The last place on the list, indicating the fastest traffic, is occupied by the United States. According to the researchers, "Residents of New York and Los Angeles may disagree with us, but from a comprehensive perspective, the United States is a country with comfortable road systems and good public transportation services."
This seemingly surprising conclusion could be at least partially attributed to the country's sheer size, much of which is adorned with highways covering whole states, driving through empty desert through much of its expansive terrain.
The United Arab Emirates is ranked second among the fastest countries. Describing it as a "paradise for fuel enthusiasts, researchers noted that "fuel prices are very low in a country where there is a large number of wealthy individuals who own luxury high-speed cars."
In the UAE, driving at a speed of 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers per hour) is allowed, second only to Germany's Autobahn highway system. Malaysia ranks third among the fastest countries and also received the highest road quality score.
To understand the extent of the slow road conditions in Israel, one must look at the list of less-developed countries with a higher population that have better road conditions. For example, India ranks eighth from the bottom, Indonesia ranks 15 places above it, and the Philippines ranks 19th from the bottom.