Highways are large main roads with four or more total lanes, encircling or connecting cities in various Grand Theft Auto games.
They become particularly relevant in large-scale games, such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V. While many highways remain unnamed, some are given specific designations, such as in GTA San Andreas.
In general, highways are interconnected, and provide smooth transitions from one region of the map to another without stopping. However, some highways are limited in their service and in the intersections they make with other major roads, and may not provide a more rapid alternative to smaller roads. Main local arteries are generally easier and more direct for in-city travel, but highways are quicker for inter-city travel.
Most highways provide a much more rapid pace and more lanes than small roads, allowing for greater speeds and more room for maneuvering. However, in the 3D Universe, especially in GTA San Andreas, cars often switch lanes quickly without notice, and this can present a hazard for the player if traveling at high speeds. Almost any minor crash on a highway will cause a massive pile-up of other vehicles who could not stop on time, and particularly in GTA San Andreas this can trigger a chain reaction of explosions. This is especially evident in Las Venturas, where cars reach speeds close to 150 km/h due to the roads there mainly consisting of long, straight stretches. This also poses a high risk of being rear-ended.
Another hazard is that one will often times come across slower moving vehicles in certain places. These vehicles include the Tractor, Freeway, Sanchez, and other motorcycles. Also, the highway's maximum speed periodically changes abruptly and without notice on most highways and the other cars will slow down usually causing an unaware player to rear-end them. Sometimes, the driver in the car you hit will get out and start attacking you or your vehicle with a Shovel, Baseball Bat, Golf Club, or simply bare-handed.
Named highways and routes
San Andreas (GTA SA)
Main article: San Andreas Highway System
- Los Santos Freeway (A looped highway that travels through Los Santos and Red County) Interstate 25
- Julius Thruway (A highway encircling Las Venturas) Interstate 226
- Harry Gold Parkway (A major road connecting the Los Santos Freeway to Julius Thruway North via the middle of Las Venturas) Interstate 25
- San Fierro Highway (From Rodeo to San Fierro via the edge of Flint county and western Whetstone)Interstate 27
- Las Venturas Highway (From Las Venturas to San Fierro via Tierra Robada and Bayside) Interstate 26
- San Fierro Bypass (From Foster Valley to Tierra Robada through San Fierro) Interstate 127
- East Beach Freeway Extension (The freeway extension connecting the Los Santos Freeway to the stadium, via Ganton) Interstate 425 E
- Santa Maria Freeway Extension (Another freeway extension, connecting the Los Santos Freeway (airport section) to the beach) Interstate 425 W
San Andreas (GTA V)
- Vice City has the least amount of highways for any GTA city, with only Bayshore Avenue as considered a highway because it is a 4-lane road divided by a median.
- Liberty City is the city with most highways in the HD Universe.
- Grand Theft Auto V is the first GTA game after the 2D Universe to contain four or more lanes on highways, but however, four lanes as one-ways was already frequent in GTA IV, as seen in Star Junction.