I’m a little late to the party, but this video has been flying around The Interwebs all weekend. It is a drone-shot video of an insane traffic jam on a highway just outside of Beijing — a highway that I have travelled many times.
I must admit that I chuckled at some of the headlines which described it as a jam on a 50-lane highway. A 50-lane highway? Really? I can assure you that there is no such thing as a 50-lane highway in China (or anywhere, for that matter).
Here’s what you are seeing: the highway coming into town is actually a 3 lane freeway. On the outskirts of the city is a toll booth, with perhaps a dozen or so toll booths. The traffic spreads out to the booths and must re-merge back into 3 lanes on the other side.
Unfortunately, what happens (and what is seen in this clip) is that the cars do not get into neat lines for the upcoming tool booths; rather that just take up every inch of tarmac as they jockey for position. In other words, three lanes spill into 50, then squeeze back to a dozen, then back to 3.
Here’s what I can’t figure out: this happens every year, so why do so many drivers head there in the first place?