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Tips for Lagos drivers


Lagos is often acclaimed as the most exciting city in Nigeria in which to drive. Who would argue? For those of you who think that driving in London or NY is stressful, herewith, for newcomers and visitors, are a few basic rules of the road for driving in Las Gidi:

First of all, know the battalion to which you belong. There is an unending and vicious road war in Lagos. In the first battalion, are motorcyclists popularly called Okada. They have a pact with suicide avoid them at all costs.

In the second battalion are commercial bus drivers. Their buses are known by various names including - Danfo, Molue (literally means "I go beat you, Bolekaja (means "Come down, make we fight), Kabu-kabu, etc. As these names imply, they are not the smartest species on the face of the planet. Avoid them. What a bitter experience? I don want to cry again. I almost did that day!

In the third battalion are the "guys of the siren": escort riders, Bullion vans, trailers, etc. They have immunity against death. Besides, they get a medal for every scratch, and a certificate of bravery for every bash. No need to tell you to stay clear of them. The Men in black even with empty bullion, I don have empty threat! Be guided.

In the fourth battalion are private guys like me. All we have at our disposal are big talk and empty threats - we have no rights. Sometimes we employ what is called "Ogboju"(bravado) to get by. Due to frustration of being home late or at work. We are a pound in the flesh in getting our ways in traffic too. What a mess!! No gentlemen again in Lagos?

Further rules:

1. When in doubt, accelerate.
2. Never drive behind a person whose head doesn't reach the top of the steering wheel.
3. Danfo drivers believe they are immortal. Don't yield to the temptation to teach them otherwise
4. Taxicabs sho uld always have the right of way, unless you are bent on suicide.
5. Get used to "Okada" riders saying things like: "Commot that scrap for road", "Mr. I go drive myself". It is normal, and we just ignore them. These days okadas are heavy duty machine too 'cos they carry multiple passengers. Husband and wife. I believe They don t complaint of overload as long as the woman is in the middle.
6. Never, ever, stop for a pedestrian unless he flings himself under the wheels of your car.
7. The first parking space you see will be the last parking space you see. Grab it. Survival of the fittest u may say!
8. Learn to swerve abruptly. In Lagos, potholes (and sometimes car-holes) are put in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes. I got one man fishing in one of the potholes, that tells u how deep it is.
9. There is no such thing as "one-way" in Lagos. Expect traffic from any direction at all times.
10. Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive bodywork.
11. There is no such thing as a short cut during rush-hour traffic in Lagos. Everybody might be inclined to take that 'short-cut'.
12. It is traditional in Lagos to honk your horn at cars that don't move the instant their bumpers are not touching the next car.
13. When asking for directions, always ask at least 3 people. Lagosians claim to know every inch of the city - even areas they've never been.
14. Use extreme caution when pulling into breakdown lanes. Breakdown lanes are not for breaking down, but for speeding, especially during rush hour.
15. Never use directional signals, since they only confound and distract other Lagos drivers, who are not used to them.
16. Similarly, never attempt to give hand signals. Lagos drivers, unused to such courtesies, will think you are making obscene gestures to them. This could be very bad for you in Lagos.
17. Hazard lights (popularly called "double pointer" is not, (as commonly supposed) used to indicate a hazard. It is a warning to you that he is a bonafide Lagos driver, he's headed 'straight' and as such, will not stop under any circumstance. Take him extremely seriously especially if he backs it up with a continuous blast from his "horn".
18. At any given time T, do not stand on the zebra crossing expecting traffic to yield to you, else you will have to explain to the on coming traffic that you look like a zebra.
19. Speed limits are arbitrary figures posted only to make you feel guilty.
20. Remember that the goal of every driver is to get there first by whatever means necessary.
21. In Lagos every spot is potential bus stop. FRSC and LASTMA knows that too. I dey in their constitution.
21. Above all, keep moving. Even with a flat tire.

Good luck-you'll need it!

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