This Is What a 50-Lane Traffic Jam Looks Like

A Chinese highway looked like a parking lot after this massive traffic snarl

It's the "high wait". Drone footage shows a 10km-long line of cars returning to Beijing after the Chinese New Year holiday.

Posted by Trending in China on Thursday, February 26, 2015

There’s nothing fun about traffic jams. Maybe it’s the boredom of waiting to move just a few feet, or it's the stress of navigating from lane to lane. Maybe it's the fumes. But what about a traffic jam that's so bad, drivers must merge from 50 lanes into fewer than 20?

CityLab’s Linda Poon reports on just such a nightmare — a mammoth tangle of cars and trucks on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, one of China’s busiest roads. The motor vehicle morass coincided with the end of Golden Week, a national holiday, which ended as drivers poured onto highways.

This isn’t the worst traffic jam in China’s history — far from it. In 2010, thousands of cars and trucks were stuck in bumper-to-bumper congestion for 10 days. The gridlock was so intense, it spawned a microeconomy and its own Wikipedia page.

Despite a proclivity for epic traffic jams, though, Chinese cities aren't even close to the world's worst for drivers. According to a BBC report, that dishonor belongs to Manila, Jakarta, and Rio de Janeiro.