Safe Distance To Live From A Highway

The Truth About Living Near Highways: What Distance is Safe?

Highways are high-speed roads that allow us to get from one place to another much faster than taking country roads.

We all use them constantly, relying on them for various things, such as the transportation of goods, travel, and so much more.

Unfortunately, living next to a highway isn’t as beneficial as you may think and there are many reasons why you may want to avoid living close to a highway.

With that said, though, what is a safe distance to live from a highway?

What Is A Safe Distance To Live From A Highway?

In general, the safest distance to live from a highway is at least 100 meters (about 300 feet). At that distance, the noise shouldn’t be bothersome, and the toxic substances produced by automobile vehicles aren’t a serious threat.

According to research, living closer to the highway than 100 meters may lead to various health problems caused by ultrafine particles produced by personal vehicles and trucks.

So, keep that in mind when looking at a house that’s relatively close to a highway.  

What are the dangers of living close to a highway?


As long as you stick to the recommended minimal distance, you should be able to live nearby a highway or a busy road without any issues.

But those who live closer than 100 meters to a highway might experience some serious problems.

The first issue people often worry about when it comes to living close to a highway is noise. It makes sense – there are cars, trucks, and other vehicles constantly driving at high speeds, which can cause serious commotion.

Loud noise can make sleeping difficult, increasing the risk of fatigue, sleep-related conditions, and other problems.

Secondly, studies show that living close to a highway for a long time can increase your risk of heart disease, respiratory problems, and strokes.

Busy Highway

Experts believe that it’s because of the ultrafine particles emitted by cars and other vehicles on the highway. This type of pollution is particularly dangerous, as the wind can carry it even further than 100 meters.

Because of that, people with preexisting conditions might be especially vulnerable. So, they should stick to living further away from a highway: at least 500 meters away.

Are highways bad for the environment?

Highways and the environment

As you may have imagined, highways have a negative impact on our environment – and not just for the ways you think.

Of course, the number one reason highways are bad for the environment is the exhaust gases produced by the vehicles on the road.

These gases contribute to pollution, global warming, and the overall worsening of air quality.

This is mainly a problem for people living very close to a highway or even a busy road, where cars travel nonstop as high speeds.

Another thing about highways that is polluting the air and environment is asphalt.

Also called bitumen, asphalt is a serious polluter that many people don’t often think about.

When it’s sunny and hot, asphalt creates harmful pollution that may be even more toxic for the environment than car exhaust emissions, according to some research.

Does living next to a highway increase your risk of cancer?

Highways next to building

According to research, children who have lived within 250 meters of a busy highway for a long period of time, particularly during their childhood, were at a higher risk of developing all types of cancer but especially leukemia.

Experts believe this increase is closely linked to the exhaust fumes produced by vehicles on a highway.

These harmful gases have negative impacts on our health and, in the long run, can lead to severe health conditions, such as cancer.

Because of that, experts agree that living close to a highway is especially dangerous for children and young adolescents, as they’re much more prone to developing serious health problems over time.

How loud is it to live next to a highway?

Loud Highway

Aside from obvious health concerns caused by exhaust emissions, living next to a highway can also be quite noisy.

Experts estimate that levels of highway traffic noise normally range between 70 to 80 dB(A) at around 50 meters away from the road. This equals a washing machine or a dishwasher noise.

While this might not seem like a lot, 70 dB of noise is harmful to our hearing, particularly when we’re exposed to it all the time.

Extended exposure to this noise level can cause increased heart rate, heart problems, difficulty with concentration, and overall irritability. In the long run, it may even lead to hearing damage.

Because of that, environmental and health organizations don’t recommend the construction of houses and residential areas anywhere closer than 100 meters from a highway or a major, busy road.

Should you buy a house close to a highway?

Buying a house

Whether you should buy a house that’s located close to a highway depends on various factors, such as wind direction, the type of road, the kind of pollution, and the traffic on the highway.

Some of these factors can’t be controlled since they constantly change, so it’s important to keep that in mind when choosing a house close to a highway.

One of the most important factors you should also consider is noise. Some residential areas located close to a highway are surrounded by sound-dampening walls or other forms of soundproof equipment.

Noise barrier on a highway
Noise barrier on a highway

This helps alleviate the noise coming from the highway, particularly for houses closer to a highway than 100 meters.

So, considering all the factors, from noise to health implications, you can decide whether you want to live in close proximity to a highway.


There are many people living relatively close to a highway. As long as the house is at least 100 meters away from the busy road, there’s no need to be concerned with any serious issues, such as health problems and noise.

Still, people who are particularly prone to respiratory conditions may want to live even further from a highway than that. This way, they can be sure that they’re not worsening any already existing health conditions.

Sources: US Department of Transportation, American Lung Association, and National Institutes of Health

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