25 Lagos Driving Rules Will Help You
Lagos, the center of aquatic splendor is full of its bubbles, opportunities, and vibes, it’s a city its residents refer to as a city that never sleeps. Lagos, being a developing megacity has its ups and downs and one of its down moment is the traffic.
A popular comedian says Lagosians sleep and lives in traffic, we only visit our homes to change clothes.
For someone who is new in Lagos and new in Nigeria, may find driving in Lagos to be very weird especially seeing tankers, trailers, okadas and danfos on Lagos roads. In Lagos, we idolize these folks, without them, we all will be trekking in fact within 2 weeks, the children of Israelites will look fresher than us.
A Yankee based Nigerian was in Lagos some years back and this time, he decided to drive himself across the city of Lagos but he was amazed that all the driving skills that he learned abroad are not applicable to Lagos. According to him, he said ” I consider myself a decent and polite driver; however, when I got behind the wheels in Lagos, I felt my driving style completely mutate into something I couldn’t recognize… but I knew I needed it to survive. Here are some tips I picked up as a driver and passenger.”
* The lines demarcating the lanes are recommendations; at best suggestions. Actually, they are opinions. It’s acceptable to ignore them. Just ignore them. If you see an opening, go for it, that’s your lane. In Lagos, you can create your own lane.
* The roads are so bad in many areas that the sight of good roads could make you want to accelerate. Go ahead and accelerate. Enjoy it while it last.
* Traffic lights are also suggestions. Red means go. Green means go. Yellow means go. Basically, just go. It’s always a pleasant surprise when a driver adheres to the traffic light.
* Try not to make awkwardly long eye contact with any of the street vendors unless your intention is to purchase something. By the way, you can buy just about anything from those vendors…even a new car!
* Signaling with your hand is more effective than using your signal light.
* The majority of traffic jams are caused by drivers slowing down to avoid multiple potholes on busy roads. #fixthebadroads
* Everyone is always in a hurry and impatient because their time is apparently more important than yours. Deal with it.
* When you cut someone off just stare them down as you do it. They will respect your audacity. And it will also make you feel like the “OGA ON TOP” of the road.
* It’s safe to assume other drivers do not have insurance. In the words of one of the taxi drivers that gave me a lift: “Wetin be insurance?”
* Be advised that the yellow taxi buses can stop anytime and anywhere so don’t follow too closely unless you have brand new brake pads and comprehensive auto insurance.
* Expect pedestrians to cross the busy highways and freeways. Watch out for them.
* It doesn’t matter where you are going just know that there will be traffic.
* If you’re involved in a fender bender with a yellow bus taxi driver he would more than likely beg you to forgive him by lying flat on the ground. Forgive him and move on, it’s not worth the argument back and forth.
* Keep one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand next to the horn.
* Honking your horn is part of the driving culture in Lagos. It’s just a convenient way to let other drivers know that you do not trust their decision-making skills.
* The only person to trust on the road is you. Remind other drivers and pedestrians you don’t trust them by honking your horn loud and proud.
* Expect to get into screaming battles with pedestrians trying to cross the busy roads. Be careful because they may put juju on you.
* If you have any paraphernalia related to the Nigerian Police, Army, Air Force, or Military, then make sure it is displayed visibly for others to see. It will help you bypass those random police checkpoints.
* There is nothing random about a random check by the police. The police officers are skilled at sizing you up as you pull up. If you do get pulled over, make sure you have some loose cash (you know why) or a lot of time to spend arguing back and forth with them about random things like showing your permit for tinted windows.
* Non-injury accidents are taken care of at the scene of the accident. In essence, there is no veering off the road. Both drivers would more than likely step out of their vehicles and engage in a screaming match in the middle of traffic.
* Okada drivers always feel they have the right of way even when it’s obvious they don’t.
* Always lock your doors and wind up your windows as you drive, especially when stuck in stop-and-go traffic at night.
* One-ways are more like two or three ways. If the road can fit three cars why restrict it to just one car when three cars can go multiple directions? The unapologetic perpetrators are the Okada and Keke drivers.
* Okadas are like water. They find voids in traffic, unassigned lanes, sidewalks, and just flow through. Watch out for them.
* Many drivers liter. Watch out for trash flying out of vehicles in front of you.
Lastly, avoid anything called trailers, tankers with every bit of skill in you! These guys are called the king of the road, they can bash your car, SUV and heaven won’t fall. Want to have a smooth ride? The fear of tankers and trailers is definitely the beginning of wisdom.