How do you survive the driving? (my boyfriend visited Nigeria recently and he said the driving there is very risky)When I first moved back home, I was intimidated by the driving, even though before I left Nigeria at 19, I was a crazy Lagos driver. When you leave the shores then return home, it’s like you become a new driver all over again.
Driver’s education is practically non existent in Nigeria, but the driving wouldn’t be such as big issue if people were more courteous on the roads. Here, it is when they see you’re a woman that they want to chance you.
I’ve noticed that Lagos and Abuja driving cultures are different.
Thankfully, the presence of both mobile police and LASTMA has increased in the major cities. In Abuja, they mostly crack down on running red lights, cell phone usage and unfastened seat belts. The sneaky guys will pull up behind you on their law enforcement bikes in slow moving traffic and pull you over. After the stunt I pulled with those police officers, I am careful to abide by traffic laws now!
A major annoyance: There’s no such thing as “right of way” on Abuja roads. If you’re cruising down a street and another car is threatening to merge onto your lane, move over ! They will surely cut in front of you. Lagos drivers don’t do that as much. But the truth is that most of the drivers on Abuja roads are new drivers.
The drivers in Abuja , especially the cab drivers, are more reckless than Lagosians. Economic immigrants from Lagos who are not used to roads that are smooth, wide and free. And boy, do I have stories about those capital city cab drivers!
I remember one particular man who said he’d been driving for just four months, but the confidence with which he owned the road you would have thought he was a veteran!
There’s no courtesy, This commenter puts it aptly when he writes: “They hit you and beg you. They hit you because you are conscious of driving rules and apply it. They, who do not apply simple driving rules, rule the highway in Nigeria. In a society not used to insurance, and where vehicular laws are not implemented, begging has replaced insurance coverage. Even passer bys would chip in to ask the offending reckless driver to beg you and get on with his life. If they beg you, you must accept. That's your only recourse.”
In summary: say your prayers, and then hit the road!