Driving on Lagos roads can be a hell of an experience. It takes little to nothing to get a Lagosian angry when he is driving his polished “that-car-cost-me-2 million!” car. For me, the everyday drama on our roads is proof that most Lagosians lack that valuable trait called “patience” and for those who are incredibly patient on most matters, when it comes to driving on Lagos roads, it becomes a difficult test of endurance, patience and love.
I think if we can add patience to these five tips when driving in Lagos, every driver and passenger will enjoy being on Lagos highways.
1. Take traffic on Lagos roads as a given: Heavy traffic is truly a major problem in Lagos and until the government and other parastatals find a lasting solution to the issue, expect the problem every time you head out. Expecting it will help you find creative, accident-free ways for to overcome it. There are twitter handles, radio programmes and traffic apps you can use to navigate your way out of a traffic jam. You can also decide to leave wherever you are early for any engagements you have. When in a hurry, you become tensed up and the probability of causing accidents becomes high.
2. Traffic signs, speed limits, traffic lights, traffic officials are not mere suggestions, adhere to them: Picture watching every driver pass as they like, ignoring the signs, lights, limits and the officials. Picture the chaos, the damage, the calamity. This is why you cannot take the above rules as mere suggestions and don’t say “Not everyone will move when I move, so why bother?” Do you know that by faulting traffic rules, you’ve increased the probability of you having an accident by 60%?
3. The horn isn’t a plaything: I don’t get it sometimes. One fateful morning, there’s heavy traffic and you pull out a book to read only to find out that it is the perfect time for Lagos drivers to practice their horn ensemble? For the love of all things sane, why? I understand that the traffic can take longer than normal and the driver can get bored but after one or two honks, please do something else to pass time.
4. Don’t park or slow down in the middle of a highway to greet a friend or to fight: It does not make any sense when we do this. Doing this is a dangerous move we take for granted here in Lagos as it can cause multiple accidents on the road, killing a lot of people on the spot because you suddenly stopped or slowed down. Parking or slowing down if we really have to do so on a highway is what the road side is meant for.
5. Yield to pedestrians: Just as big trucks would tackle the small cars in a road battle, you’ll find some drivers who drive small cars terrorising pedestrians. I guess the terrorized feel the need to terrorize something/someone lesser than them sometimes but pedestrians are not smaller than your car. They are humans like you without a car. So if you really need to terrorize something smaller than you, go punch a pillow but on highways where there are traffic signs or traffic lanes for pedestrians to walk, don’t race them with your terror car. On highways where there are no signs, yield to those who need to cross if there are no fly-over bridges.