Many travelers have their traffic stories – merging into the roundabout beneath Arc de Triomphe in Paris, dodging motorcycles in Southeast Asia, cramming into rickety buses in Latin America – and most mega-cities have their own share of traffic problems.
In Nigeria, however, traffic in Lagos is in a league of its own. I tried describing what navigating through it was like in Back to Sender but couldn’t do it enough justice.
What makes traffic (also called “go-slows”) in Lagos legendary is an underlying competitive nature that living in Africa’s most populous country seems to breed. This intrinsic quality means many people are out looking for shortcuts to edge out their competition. With 150 million people crammed into roughly the size of Texas, 20 million of which are based in Lagos, what you often get on a daily basis are traffic bottlenecks lasting hours.
Bottlenecks which could easily have been avoided if only that bus driving the opposite direction hadn’t considered your lane its shortcut.