Thursday, March 12, 2009

Caution - Crazy Drivers!


That’s a picture of one of Abuja’s major highway. In a country where many people buy their driving license, you can see how such freedom can be a hazard!
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!

13 comments:

  1. its funny that Abuja drivers are more dangerous than Lagos drivers. There was me thinking Abuja people had best manners. May be I move to Kano instead.

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  2. lol @ "they hit you and beg you"

    That's so true! Amazing to say Abj drivers are worse that lagos ones though.. Even though your argument is valid, still..
    Lasgos just seems like the city of chaos!



    Last post by RocNaija - Bad stuff I’m talented at!

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  3. correction, they hit you and shout at you for being a mumu

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  4. I never drove in naija...fear would paralyse me each time I saw a trailer coming...Trailers still scare me even here..guess I have been scarred....

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  5. this gives mi nostalgic feelins bou goin bac to naij...in short i cant wait to finish school and go back...
    abuja drivers..the worst...accidents can kill mi again cos ive had like 4 of dem in abuja and im alive to tell the story(not always ma fault tho)..notin can make up for the sheer exhiliration of racing down the highways...
    m glad ur lovin naij...i cant wait to come bac too...

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  6. My friend was killed in a car accident in Abuja on Jan 17th.

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  7. @sting, I'm so sorry to hear that!
    @mimz, come on over jare.
    @afrobabe, I feel u girl. I've never been a fan of trailers
    @Femi B, very true !

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  8. @RocNaija-Lagos is getting better oh!
    @lol.Secret Diary-every city get its own craz oh.

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  9. yeah, driving in Naija is something else. NYC drivers are crazy but there is a law. Chicago drivers on the other had shouldnt have licences.

    Anyway, how naija?

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  10. nice post.abuja has a very tricky driving culture.the accidents you see are really nasty and they occur typically at t- junctions and cross roads when a driver approaching an intersection would speed blindly into the T as if expecting other cars to clear and ...gbim... it happens, another friday night accident in the city of abuja!

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