• 7 ways to spot an experienced Lagos driver

    Posted on: November 16th, 2016 by Akan Inyang No Comments

    Ever heard the saying that if you can drive in Lagos that you can drive anywhere in the world? I bet drivers in Dominican Republic or Niue island may disagree but the truth is driving in Lagos has a myriad of avoidable complexities. As much as it may be difficult to substantiate, I can boldly say that the number one cause of traffic in Lagos is ‘impatience’; many may argue that the volume of activities and number of vehicles (registered vehicles estimated to be above 2million by FRSC) drives this traffic levels up. But in many ways these realities are exacerbated by Lagosians being impatient and taking traffic laws into their hands.

    The root problem of this Lagos driving is a heightened or blown out version of a fundamental Nigerian problem; which is lack of proper driver training institutions, lack of a thorough license awarding system and inconsistent enforcement of traffic laws. Majority of Nigerian drivers are indeed guilty of learning most about driving on the road rather than in proper training centers.

    So how does one spot a Lagos driver that has extensively gone through the unstructured training on the streets to gain hard-earned experience stripes on the never-smiling streets/roads of Lagos, Nigeria? These are few tips:

    Side mirrors are priceless: In Lagos the very natural instincts of other drivers when your pointer beeps is for them to speed up and attempt beating you to the turn; I can’t explain why and how but best believe that this insane instinct is so real! So after making known your intention to make a turn, an experienced Lagos knows that whether or not the coast was clear of obstructing okadas (motorcycles) or cars a few seconds ago, you still need to double-check with your side mirror-because its Lagos of course!

    Mobile phones, food, newspapers may be close but are totally off-limits whilst driving: the simple truth here is that #30,000 Naira can do a whole lot for you in Nigeria’s current recession stricken economy. You don’t want to hand that down to LASTMA or the VIO because of a few moments of financial indiscretion(s).

    In the end Police are your real friends: when it comes to the expediency of ‘sorting things’ out quickly before things get out of hand or just before the yellow navy ‘enter your matter’, you can bank on these gallant men in black! I will say no more on this matter, as those who know- know what I mean #winks!

    Experienced drivers know when not to drive: taking a public bus is almost always the cheapest but not always the most convenient movement option in Lagos. A shrewd understanding of the city, its rush hours, the one-way red hot zones, the impracticable no-parking zones etc, helps in knowing when best to hail an uber, take a cab or join any of the public bus options. In literal terms, your honest quest for utmost comfort in moving around from one place to the other may lead to aggravated stress levels.

    Spotting fakes spare-parts and unskilled mechanics takes a special understanding/experience: Ever wondered how some drivers sound like experienced Toyota spare-parts importers when they are in search of some specific quality spare-parts? Wonder no more, because it comes with experience; I can rephrase this statement accurately by saying that ‘in Lagos them must chop you for you to learn’-that’s true experience!

    Speed is never a virtue: as it may apply to even other cities around the world, shortcuts and true knowledge of the road is priceless. Luckily for Lagosions the city has a good road network, arguably one of the bests in Nigeria. Really experienced drivers know when an alternative route makes a good alternative.

    There is absolutely no wisdom in dragging with Danfos: they will literally drag you and your car to their level. In dealing with aggressive commercial vehicles there is one cardinal rule: BE PRECISELY DARING-needless say, experienced Lagos drivers know this!

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