Nigerian Way: How is my driving?
The first in my “the Nigeria way” series is based on something dear to my heart, driving. I love cars and I love good driving; I mean sport cars are to be driven ‘fast and furiously’, luxury cars without any ‘need for speed’ and on ‘cruise control’, on the other hand my one bias is that 18 wheelers be driven (pardon the pun) off the streets!
Today we will be exploring Nigerian driving (Abuja being the case study) by discussing the various facets of the traffic “conglomerate”, namely the drivers, passengers, traffic wardens, roads, rules and regulations. So you can as well step on the clutch and put your car into gear 1 now!
Abuja being the centre of Unity has an intricately well designed and well thought out road network comprising of free-ways, overhead bridges, gigantic roundabouts with traffic and street lights to spice up the scene. However, due to the constant flow of immigrants to this land brimming with milk and honey as well as the incessant threats to buildings within the metropolis by the infamous “boko boys”, these road network is fraught with traffic jams left right and centre, and as such, these traffic jams are the keys that have opened the “Pandora’s box” of nightmarish driving within the FCT.
I would not do this article justice if I do not state that although the road network is awesome within Abuja, the condition of the roads in other satellite towns within the FCT is appalling! Just ask the people living within Kuje, Zuba and its environs. It is even more ridiculous that an inter-section (airport junction) separates Jabi and its awesome roads from Karimo and its port-holes. But let’s ignore this and move on to my second issue.
I believe the most appropriate adjective to qualify most drivers here In the FCT would be “frightful”, while other words like “hasty”, “scary”, “foolish”, “immature” would also suffice. Sometimes I want to go round pasting neon colored signs that say things like “stop and check before you turn!”, but then assuming that most of them are illiterates seeing that they almost never read these signs anyway, maybe I’ll just advertise on Wazobia fm.
I’m not just talking about commercial drivers here, private car owners are no better. There is this insistent disregard for proper driving etiquette that most times you honestly cannot tell the difference between them and the commercial drivers.
I have a message for anyone and everyone who uses public transportation “the best way for you to get to your destination is for you to leave early enough!” the bus driver isn’t Fernando Alonso and your bus isn’t a Ferrari!
Let me give you a brief scenario; some days back on my way back from work in a public transport, I had this thought for a brief second that the driver of my bus was the last sane commercial driver in Nigeria. But like I said it was just for a brief second because his obvious care, nobility and caution on the road, was met with grumbles from disgruntled passengers who hurled insults at him for ‘slacking’. Making statement like ‘oga if you know say you no fit drive danfo, why you carry us’.
Okay so I’m angry at the drivers and pissed at the passengers, but what word can I accurately describe my feelings towards the wardens? Sometimes I believe they exist to worsen the already bad traffic situation. Don’t get me wrong, some of these guys work their rear ends off all day and deserve any iota of respect and gratitude they receive.
On the other hand, there are many others who deserve to be beaten with a stick then soaked in honey and dried on a soldier ant farm (don’t say you heard it here though). I mean they ignore the “call of duty” placed on them by their country and choose instead to lounge like belly filled cats, extorting passer-by and motorists as it pleases them.
Subsequently as annoyed as I am about this situation, I can’t go around whipping or shooting people just because I’m mad, but I guess the least I can do is offer unique driving tips and reminders of certain rules most road users might have forgotten.
DRIVING TIPS by Your’s Truely
- Don’t honk your horn insistently at another road user or at the red traffic light, the said horn is not going to come out and push the person off the road for you to pass.
- The sidewalks are for pedestrians! It’s bad enough that they are trekking, don’t bully them off the road completely.
- If the car in front of you stops, don’t use your car to push it!
- The road cannot increase its size overnight, if its two lanes don’t create a third one!
- You can’t pump air into your tire by increasing your speed.
- Please and please don’t ping and drive.
Finally if we can follow the words of a certain person (his identity eludes me now) and drive, stroll or do whatever it is you do on the roads like you are the last sane person, more accidents and other dismal activities can be avoided on the roads.
Source: Emmanuel Ihim, roadbloggers.com