As you’re stuck in traffic once again at 5 pm on a Friday evening, instead of being angry, you should be thankful. If a little bit of traffic is the worst thing that might happen to you as you head home, it’s nothing compared to the nerve-wracking experiences other drivers face across the globe. Thanks to insane traffic, frequent accidents, poor road conditions, or a combination of all three, you’ll be surprised to learn just how bad roads in other parts of the world can be. But to give you a better idea of how good you’ve got it, we’re going to explore various cities around the world where you might want to consider walking instead of driving.
Being stuck in traffic for an hour is nothing compared to what you might experience in Dhaka. Infamous for its extraordinarily congested traffic conditions, the World Bank estimated back in 2017 that the average traffic speed in Dhaka is less than 7km/h. That’s almost slower than walking speed! A lack of traffic enforcement combined with a rapidly growing population, has resulted in chaotic driving conditions with high accident rates. You might want to sit this one out at home.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
This Brazilian city has made it onto this list for a number of reasons. For one, traffic is a critical issue - its complex network of roads is home to a population of over 8 million. Furthermore, Sao Paulo holds records for some of the worst traffic jams in the world, with tailbacks reaching over 100 miles. Coupled with erratic driving styles and the risk of robbery and theft, driving in this city is an extremely stressful endeavour.
Driving in Mumbai is more of an exercise in controlled chaos than a means of transportation. From cars and buses to rickshaws and bikes, the city’s roads are overflowing with people trying to get from one place to another. Not to mention there are plenty of pedestrians and animals walking everywhere that you have to be cautious of as you slowly make your way down the streets. It doesn’t end there though - add on poorly maintained roads, poor adherence to traffic laws, and inadequate traffic management, and you’re suddenly left with a nightmare you didn’t know was possible.
Lagos’ road issues lie mainly in its poorly maintained roads which are full of potholes and unexpected obstacles. If you’ve ever complained to your city about their slow pothole fixes, you can’t even dream about repairs happening here. Along with insufficient traffic management and a population too big for the city and its roads, it all adds up to create an unbearable driving environment. With such poor road conditions, it’s no wonder that there’s an increased rate of vehicle breakdowns and accidents.
Another overpopulated city, Manila’s roads are infamous for their overwhelming volume of cars, bikes, pedestrians, and jeepneys, which lead to an incessant amount of constant honking. Loud enough to give you a headache, you’ll certainly regret stepping foot outside of your house. In combination with frequently ignored traffic laws and insane gridlocks, driving on these roads can be quite a dangerous task.
Although the usual factors of heavy traffic, chaotic driving, and no care for the traffic laws all exist here in Beijing, this city has another concern to be worried about. With alarming levels of air pollution covering Beijing, visibility is often reduced and can affect drivers’ health and driving ability. Add that to the depressing mix of being too populated and having a complicated road network, driving in Beijing can easily become a disaster.
Now you might be surprised to see the beloved city, Athens, on this list, but Greek drivers have a reputation for their reckless driving habits and ignoring traffic rules. Making it a challenging city to drive in, people often warn other travellers to always pay careful attention on the roads. With narrow, winding streets and a shocking lack of parking spaces, these difficulties can become more frustrating over time.
After reading this article, are you feeling a bit more thankful for your city’s driving conditions now? These cities remind us that driving should always be exercised with care and caution - we never know what unexpected dangers might show up on the road. And with conditions this bad, these cities show us that driving can be more of a test of one’s patience.