They say, "if you can drive in Lagos, you can drive anywhere else". There is a reason for that saying. It takes some extremely special skills to get behind the wheels and navigate through the unbelievable traffic system.
Just in case you are new to town, or you just need a refresher course, here are the 25 rules for driving in Las Gidi.
1. When in doubt, accelerate!
2. Be prepared to ram into anything stopping you that is wearing uniform in Lagos (police,traffic warden, FRSC, Kai brigade, fire brigade, VIO, LASTMA, LAMATA, LASWA)
3.If you get caught by any chance, do not allow them to enter your car, if they happen to get in do not drive from that spot (veer off traffic & settle promptly), and if they don’t agree, pretend that you are calling your uncle who is in the army (believe me it always works), never follow them to any sort of office except you are ready to pay ten times more than what was demanded.
4. Never give police or VIO your original particulars (whether expired or up to date).
5. Danfo drivers believe they are immortal. Never yield to the temptation to teach them otherwise.
6. Okada riders have a pact with suicide, avoid them like a plague.
7. Avoid BRT buses in all ramifications, they have no brakes.
8. Taxi cabs (oko asewo) should always have the right of way, all of them have been driving in Lagos for 25 years.
9. Never, ever, stop for a pedestrian unless he flings himself under the wheels of your car.
10. The first parking space you see will be the last parking space you see. Grab it. Survival of the fittest you may say!
11. Learn to swerve abruptly. In Lagos, potholes (and sometimes car-holes) are put in key locations to test drivers’ reflexes and shock absorbers,( I saw one man fishing in one of the potholes last week).
12. There is no such thing as “one-way” in Lagos. Expect traffic from any direction at all times. The okada riders are the experts in this area.
13. Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive bodywork, except you want to spend your whole Saturday at the panel beater’s place.
14. Morning rush-hours are equivalent to Lagos grand prix (who gets to the junction first).
15. There is no such thing as a short-cut during rush-hour traffic in Lagos. Everybody might be inclined to take that ’short-cut’.
16. When asking for directions, always ask at least three people. Lagosians always claim to know every inch of the city – even areas they’ve never been to.
17. Use extreme caution when pulling into service lanes. Service lanes are not for breaking down the traffic, but for speeding, especially during rush hour.
18. Never use directional signals, since they only confound and distract other Lagos drivers, who are not used to them.
19. 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.
20. 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”.
21. As a pedestrian, at any given time, do not stand on the zebra crossing expecting traffic to yield to you, or else you will have to explain to the on coming traffic whether you look like a zebra.
22. Speed limits are arbitrary figures posted only to make you feel guilty.
23. Remember that the goal of every driver is to get there first by whatever means necessary.
24. In Lagos every spot is a potential bus stop. FRSC and LASTMA know that too. It is in their constitution.
25. Above all, keep moving. Even with a flat tyre!!!
HORNING IN LAGOS
Horn’ when someone executes a dangerous maneouvre.
‘Horn’ when you’re about to move off.
‘Horn’ when you’re about to overtake.
‘Horn’ when someone is about to overtake you.
‘Horn’ when turning into a road.
‘Horn’ when emerging from a road.
‘Horn’ back when someone horns at you. It’s considered good etiquette.
‘Horn’ when you hear a chorus of horns. Don’t worry if you don’t know what all the ‘horning’ is about.
‘Horn’ when you’re happy.
‘Horn’ to the beat when you’re playing music in your car.
Good luck, as you expeditiously navigate through Lagos and its hustle and bustle!