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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Things I learned Driving In Lagos

Even though I learned how to drive many many years ago and I do know how to drive, I never really took it up properly until recently. I just couldn't be bothered, plus I have had a phobia for huge trucks and my gracious and darling hubby takes me to work and brings me back everyday since we relocated. 

Anyways, for the first time in a long time, I started driving properly and for longer ALONE in a car recently. It has been an experience so far and I would list the things I've learned and discovered so far:

1. One in every five cars do not have a fully functioning set of brake lights: ....which probably explains why there are so many cases of fender benders in Lagos. I remember something I used to do when I served (NYSC) in Abuja years ago. On my way out each time, I would look out for cars that had dents on them and then conclude they are from Lagos State, after which I would check out the license plates to confirm. I was almost always right because the cars that bore Abuja plates barely ever had been in accidents while those in from Lagos almost always had dents, scoffs, scratches, bumps, etc on them. Go figure.

2. Switching Lanes: You'd be forgiven to think there was an award for the most-switcher in lane switching category. Why can't Lagosians just stay on a lane, huhn? These switches cause a lot of the small accidents we see daily. Stay. In. Your. Lane. Dammit.

3. Danfo-Menace-Drivers: Where do I start from with these chaps? I have tweeted several times that I do believe a vast majority of danfo drivers (public bus drivers) have thick cotton-wool soaked in sewage fluid in their heads rather than brains and this is me putting it mildly. They are the worst traffic offenders everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. They are so reckless and have little or no regard for human lives let alone other road users' cars. The most infuriating part is that when they eventually run their metal buses into your car due to their impatience and carelessness, they will come out to cry, prostrate and plead with you because they have no money to fix your car. Simple and short. They never have money to fix up, ever. The best thing to do is to just avoid them and allow them proceed with their madness without putting your car in harm's way.

4. Oba Akran Traffic: See ehn, the traffic in Lagos can make a grown man/woman cry in frustration. A few days ago, I was close to dying of hunger in traffic a few days ago on Alfred Rewane, Ikoyi. The traffic was horrendous and I hadn't eaten all day. At some point I even sent out a tweet begging for a ride on a power-bike with an extra helmet. I would have ditched the official driver quickly, lol. Sometime last week, I left my house for work without applying my makeup with the hopes of doing so when I got to work BUT by the time I had spent 30 minutes on Oba Akran in a standstill kindda traffic for a ride that shouldn't have taken up to 10 minutes, I started applying my makeup and I tell you, I did a full face of makeup before I got to the beginning of the bridge leading to Ikeja-under-bridge. That traffic has a prime spot on my gangsta-traffic-wall .  :)

5. Many Are Mad, But Few Are Roaming: I used to hear that when you are driving in Lagos, you should automatically assume that all other road users are mad and as such, drive with extra caution. I often thought it was a fallacious statement but alas, I have come to realize that it is not an exaggeration. I cannot understand Lagos road users, both drivers and pedestrians (don't even get me started on those ones) so I just shine my eyes very well .

6. Trucks Are Not So Scary After All: I grew up with a phobia for heavy duty trucks, probably as a result of witnessing an accident from an exploding tanker as a child. We narrowly missed being burnt alive in that horrific accident and ever since then, the trauma has stayed with me. I dreaded driving beside trucks and tankers and this singular phobia/fear put me off driving for a long time. Thankfully, I have finally managed to overcome this fear and it is mainly because I realized that it feels different when you go past one of such while you are behind the wheel and while you are riding shotgun. Clearly, one is more in control while holding the steering wheel than when observing from the sides. Infact, I feel like I have superhuman powers while cruising next to a heavy duty truck. Hehehehe. #ImFreeAtLast :)

7. Swearing And Cussing; Lagos Style: I dare you to leave your house, drive through Lagos in one day and not cuss/swear or wonder in amazement at the sheer recklessness and madness of road users. It is near impossible I'm telling you. There are always trouble makers looking for you to aggravate. Sigh. I always try to look on the funny side to the madness in order not to work myself up. ;) 

What's your driving experience been like? Care to share? :)

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