Lagos Traffic; The Ordeal

I know you’ve had to wake up earlier than usual on certain days, perhaps rainy days, fuel scarcity days, or just a regular Monday, just to check Google map to ascertain how long you’re going to spend, stuck in a hundred-meter distance for over 30 minutes, only to move a little forward to meet some stand still traffic that makes you wish you had wings. You drag yourself out of bed, rush through your morning process like someone is holding a gun to your head, then you grudgingly but hopefully hit the road just to find out that the traffic had doubled in the 20 minutes you used to squeeze in a 2-hour long preparation. Relentlessly, you slowly step on the pedal, your car tires crawl along the road, only to have to stop every five seconds or sometimes 3 minutes, having another driver curse at you or hit your car just because you got too close!! It’s a tight spot.

You lazily watch the hawkers, who only but live for this moment exploiting every second of it, sticking their heads into open bus windows, locking eye contact with everybody they get the chance to, hissing, whistling and running after buses, yelling at the top of their voices "bottled water, mineral"! Lagos traffic drains the energy and happiness from everybody. And keeping in mind that it's not at all impossible to reliably stay away from the traffic, there are ways of encouraging oneself while holding up in this rush hour hold up.

Here are a few things people do to make Lagos traffic more bearable.

Demilade is someone who doesn’t have the patience for the Lagos traffic, so he goes somewhere to chill until he’s sure the traffic has gone down. He also says that when he isn’t the one driving, he either comes down from the car and takes a walk till he can get a bike, or he sleeps off, leaving the driver to himself.

On the other hand, Susan takes advantage of this chance to listen to a lot of music. She says that sometimes she also watches movies or YouTube videos to kill her boredom. To put the icing on the cake, she transforms her vehicle into her personal club, finding extra ways to turn her frustration into fun. 

Enters Daniel, a regular joe who uses the opportunity to ‘gist’ and catch up on old times with some friends or family members. He says the traffic gives him enough time to do that without feeling like he is wasting his precious time. Sometimes he uses the Lagos traffic duration to have family meetings that he has been postponing for a while because he couldn’t get time off work for a physical one.

Lastly, we have Chioma who uses Lagos traffic as her own personal market. Anywhere you see traffic in Lagos there are always vendors and hawkers. She says that in traffic, she got a new pair of sunglasses, a new phone charger and many other essential and useful things. She also mentions how she gets snacks like plantain chips and coconut biscuit in the holdup. Let’s not forget how the hawkers always have that very cold bottle of Pepsi that quenches our thirst after hours. 

While there are many more things people do to while away time, Lagos traffic is never a simple sight. Regardless of how long you've become accustomed to it, it still baffles you. My dad says, there’s always a meeting point for everyone. I think Lagos traffic is one of them. Would you rather be the one on the wheel at times like this or you’d prefer surviving traffic in a bus? What’s your call?