Mr Daniel; an engineering contractor that lives in Abuja, wakes up in the City of Lagos for the first time in a long time because he has business meetings in Lagos for a week. He resulted in using Google Maps to get directions from Victoria Island to Yaba because he has a meeting there with his first client on a Sunday afternoon. Google Map shows 10 minutes for the drive. He embarks on the journey and it takes him only 9 minutes.
Typical congested Lagos road
Mr Daniel doesn’t have any understanding of Lagos traffic so he wakes up in his Victoria Island Hotel room 20 minutes before his appointment on a Monday morning at Yaba thinking it would be a 10 minutes drive just like Sunday. He checks Google Maps and it says 1 hour 35 minutes for a 10 minutes trip of the previous day. Mr Daniel is confused and disappointed at his ignorance.
If only Mr Daniel had read this article how to beat Lagos traffic every day of the week before travelling to Lagos for his business meetings with various clients. We promise you would never be a Mr Daniel someday as long as you follow this article from start to finish.
A lot of people living in Lagos have tips for driving in Lagos but you need more than that. We know that there are days when you won’t be able to tolerate any form of traffic on the road and you are about to see the hack to that.,
Origin and Causes of Lagos Traffic
Lagos traffic is a compound word that describes the nasty piling up and slow movement of cars on major Lagos roads and it could last from minutes to multiple hours but it is never up to a day.
Traffic is a normal occurrence anywhere there are a lot of cars on the road. Lagos is the busiest State in Nigeria housing over 14 million people. We like to say that Lagos is overpopulated and it is the greatest cause of traffic. Abuja might have more supercars than Lagos but they sure don't have more traffic congestion. It is not even a thing to brag about.
We all waste our time in traffic but we would help you today
Over the past 10 years, there has been no new road network in Lagos. The major roads haven’t been expanded; instead, they got reduced in size to accommodate the BRT system. In Lagos, the first thing any youth tries to buy when they start making money is a car to help them move around.
When you stand on Third Mainland Bridge in the morning around when the traffic is high, you would notice that every private car has an average of 2 persons occupied. Everyone wants their car for convenience because there are no proper public transit systems that connect the most industrial areas of Lagos.
When people cannot conveniently access their offices with public transit, they would save up fast and buy a car to make life easier. Remember that these cars are being added to the ones already on the road and the roads are not getting bigger. This automatically means congestion on the road.
A simple test to show how Lagos is infested with traffic
We would talk about the days and time frame when Lagos is prone to heavy traffic but before that, try stopping on major expressways for 1 minute and see how cars will start queuing up behind you because there is always a high influx of cars on the roads. Once there is a small obstruction, traffic starts building up.
Once something like this happens in Lagos on a busy road...it is over
If you stop your car on major expressways in Ondo State, Adamawa or Bauchi, there won’t be any traffic build-up behind you.
When is there always heavy traffic in Lagos?
1. The morning and evening Lagos Traffic on weekdays
According to a survey we carried out for over one year, we noticed that Lagos traffic is always at its highest points in the morning from around 6:30 am -10:30am and in the evening between 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm.
You can see that the other side of the third mainland is free
Traffic at these times is solely caused by high vehicular movement. More like too many people trying to go to the same place at the same time. The dynamics are always mainland to island traffic in the morning and then Island to mainland traffic in the afternoon.
When there is a breakdown or accident, Lagos traffic also occurs. Once there is a breakdown of any car or accident on any major road, be sure to expect high-intensity traffic on that road because it is Lagos.
2. If there is fuel scarcity
Once you notice there is fuel scarcity across the State, we mean serious scarcity. Every fuel station along the express would have long queues that extend into the road and this would cause heavy traffic because of fuel buyers trying to jump the queue and switch lanes on the road.
3. When the road is being fixed
Anytime a road is being fixed, there would be heavy traffic on that road even when there is a proper diversion. Lagos Ibadan expressway traffic is a perfect example of this. Diversions slow cars down.
When there is a bad spot on the road
Also, the roads in Lagos are not enough, like we said earlier, so the closure of any major road leads to congestion of cars on alternative routes
4. When a dignitary is around
Often times when the President of Nigeria is visiting Lagos or there is any other high profile dignitary from all over the world, the road gets blocked so that movement would be restricted towards the areas the dignitary will be passing.
5. Popular Social/Religious Events
There are some events in Lagos that you know will cause heavy traffic on roads. A classic example is an Experience that happens at TBS in December. This makes the Obalende/CMS area of Lagos get blocked with cars trying to move in and out of the event. Another is the church events along Lagos Ibadan expressway by RCCG and MFM church majorly.
This is RCCG on a 'camp' day...you can see how much people and traffic present
This rubs off on other road users not attending the event as well.
6. Weekend Traffic
A lot of Lagosians love going out on Saturdays between the hours of 12 am and 6 pm. The traffic is always higher on the roads at this time on Saturdays while there is always church rush traffic between 8 am and 3 pm on Sundays.
How to avoid Lagos Traffic
In knowing how to avoid Lagos traffic today, you have to do a lot of monitoring, asking questions and smart movement on the road. We have compiled a list of guidelines that will help you avoid traffic on the road but there are some Lagos traffic situations that are unavoidable because they are highly unpredictable. This often happens when there is a broken down vehicle situation, a fight or an accident.
Here are 5 tips on how to avoid Lagos Traffic
1. Movement out of traffic hour
If you are sure that there is no road construction going on in the areas you want to drive through and you want to avoid traffic at all costs, we advise you to set out and be halfway through to your destination before is 6:30 in the morning or before 5:30 in the evening.
One side free, one side blocked
The best time to drive around Lagos when the time of your arrival to the place fully depends on you between 11 am and 5 pm on weekdays. At these times during the day, the traffic situation is always free except any of the other 5 causes of traffic happen.
2. Use of Lagos Traffic Radio
Lagos State has a dedicated traffic radio station; 96.1FM that alerts you one the road conditions throughout the day. Before you tune in music from your phone, listen to the traffic radio as you head out on your journey.
3. Using street roads
Once there is a traffic build-up ahead of you on any Lagos road that has streets around, turn into the streets and try to pass the traffic hotspot just before it gets very serious.
You can always follow Keke and Danfos within streets to cut down traffic
Good knowledge of alternative routes within streets around the major road has helped a lot of people save hours out of traffic. Be careful with one way though.
4. Asking oncoming drivers for the cause of traffic
When you notice there is weird heavy traffic on the road, you can try to slow down oncoming drivers on the other lane and ask for the cause of the traffic ahead. This gives you a good opportunity to turn around and take an alternative route to your journey.
Okadas rarely get involved in Heavy Congestion
Imagine staying in the same spot on the road for 30 minutes and not knowing what the cause of the traffic is ahead.
5. Checking dates for any social event on your route/spiritual
Always keep up with the dates of popular social events that happen in the areas you are driving to each day. People living around the Ojodu Berger area of Lagos always prepare for heavy traffic caused by the RCCG and MFM church on a particular Friday of every month that makes the Lagos Ibadan expressway traffic gets blocked.
With these few points, we hope you now understand Lagos Traffic better and know how to beat Lagos traffic every day of the week because it is an important survival skill at this point.