I learnt how to use Google Maps to check traffic in Lagos sometime last year and as tech-savvy as I claim to be, I was completely wowed. I didn’t know things like that worked in Nigeria … As fate would have it, the day I started using it, it literally saved my life.
My mum travelled out of Lagos this beautiful day and baddest me decided to take her car to work since I had to service mine btw. I live on the mainland and work on the island like
most a lot of Lagosians.
Lagos Island and Lagos Mainland is a stratification depending on what side of the lagoon you are referring to
On that fateful day, I left work by 9 pm with the hopes that traffic would have cleared out. Alas, there was still traffic. But I was already at Apogbon (the very shady and dark area where one bridge connects another and 3 lanes become 1) so no turning back for me.
So here i was, chilling in Lagos traffic, in an SUV that’s not mine… Feeling very alright…Next thing I heard was ” gba gba gba” … Someone was banging on my side window.
I looked and saw one unfortunate fellow trying to break the glass in an attempt to rob me of my belongings.. see ehn, I hear of stories of armed robberies and petty theft in Lagos but I had never experienced one. It was like Nollywood o. The guy kept on trying and when he saw that only his hands couldn’t break he started to threaten me by pretending to bring out a gun. He started mouthing “your phone, your phone“
That was when I started laughing. At first, I was scared .. but when he said your phone I just knew I was dealing with a foolish petty thief. In all honesty, at the time of this incidence last year, I was quite naïve (and a little crazy) and he would have had to drag that phone from me. I wasn’t giving anybody nadda..
dear blog readers, I have matured a little since then and now I know that no possession is worth your life no matter how much you worked for it.
Let me cut the long story short and say he wasn’t successful and my mobile phone and I are still joined in our addictive union . Fairytale ending….
You see, I only leave work at either 4 pm, in rare cases 5 pm. If I am unable to leave wherever I am at these times, I get comfortable and occupied with the plan to leave by 9 pm. I do this because I can’t stand Lagos traffic.
If you do not reside in Lagos and for whatever lofty reason you plan to come into this crazy place, kindly take a short course in Traffic analysis if you do not want to get frustrated. I hate getting stuck in traffic gridlocks and therefore become an analyst when its time to hit the roads in Lagos. Guess what my number 1 tool for my analysis is; Drumroll!!!
A little bit underwhelming yeah, but stay with me… Google maps has some fantastic features that people ignore because they just don’t believe they work in Nigeria.
- traffic view
- distance calculator (that’s my name for it)
- your places
- Offline areas
- Public transit
- Places and Businesses.
To access these options, click on the hamburger menu, the triple dash on the left part of the search bar and viola.. explore away.
My Dears, google doesn’t recognize Molue and Danfo buses as public transport. They see only BRT busses and you can actually see how far or near a BRT bus is from you if you happen to be waiting for one or the closest bus stop if you are searching for one. You can save areas like your work and home offline for easy access..
You can also review restaurants and places and include pictures.. you could get rewarded when you do. I haven’t tried it so no details yet. that’s under your contributions in the menu. My best feature.. obviously... is the traffic view. where you basically see the roads that are gridlocked and the ones that are not.
In the images above, the areas that are completely red are on a standstill… you are going there to burn your fuel…The traffic is heavy. Yellow still has some hope, its slow-moving or just a slight obstruction, and green is literally free to go… Mind you I see different shades of Red sometime… so I just assume, the deeper the red, the heavier the traffic.
Just search for your destination in the app… Gmaps will show you its suggested direction (which can be wrong in 9ja sometimes)
Fun fact: In Nigeria, when someone says, there’s a lot of traffic… it means the traffic is heavy. I used it in this post but its wrong English.. its what I call Nigerian English just like “Cut your hand to the right” which means turn your car steering wheel to the right.