Awww, that's no fun! But at least the article gives us this:
In fact, though a bit on the extreme side, the 11-day traffic jam mirrors similar incidents that occur frequently and regularly across the country, most of which last anywhere between a few hours to a few days.
A bit on the extreme side? That's it? Then again, since apparently multiple-days-long traffic jams are NOT a freak occurrence, maybe this really wasn't that big a deal. Craziness, I say!
Well, according to the article, Chinese driving habits tend to exacerbate the issue.
The Daily Telegraph’s Tim Collard paints an accurate picture of the reality of driving in China when he writes that in Beijing, “the lanes of the motorway [disintegrate] into anarchy as everyone struggle[s] to get his nose in front of everyone else and steal a couple of feet of ground.”
Other commonplace driving tendencies include sleeping during a traffic jam, stopping in the middle of a road or expressway to look at a map or call for directions, driving on opposite sides of the street or on sidewalks as desired, and honking vigorously at other cars, bikes, and pedestrians – or simply at the world in general.
Meanwhile, buckling seatbelts, checking rearview mirrors, giving ambulances priority and respecting a pedestrian’s right of way are practically nonexistent behaviors – all of which factor into why China averages 3.5 times more traffic-related deaths than the US, according to Global Times.
Emphasis mine. I read the last paragraph and started to wonder if the whole thing wasn't some devious ploy by the Chinese government to trim the population.
With a slight few countries being exceptions, that kind of behavior is the norm in pretty much all of Asia. Mainland Asia anyway.
I actually reported on this issue somewhat extensively while I was living in Asia. There are so many other factors that contribute to that death toll in Mr. Boffo's link - nonexistent or unenforced vehicle safety standards, impunity for wealthy drivers who have no concern for the well being of others and no fear of being punished for their actions, and lack of access (i.e., money) to safety equipment (especially helmets for motorbike drivers, and there are a LOT of motorbike drivers in Asia) are also huge issues. Traffic laws are enforced selectively and as a result traffic is going in all directions at all times. I've seen ambulances with their sirens on get stuck in traffic for more than 30 minutes, and forget about seatbelts and mirrors.
When I heard about this traffic situation, I thought, "I would be absolutely terrified to be there." The roads in Asia comprise perhaps the most chaotic environment I've ever been in. It really is a free-for-all.
The most horrifying driving method I ever saw was in Vietnam. I was standing on the side of a hill, waiting for a ferry to come to take me across a river. Well, a pickup truck with about 12 people in or on it pulls up over the hill coming down the dirt path, moving fairly slowly. As the truck slows down to, I'd estimate, 15 miles per hour, two guys jump from the bed of the truck with a couple of bricks each, which they quickly place in front of the tires of the truck to make it stop. The truck had no brakes.