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BN Hot Topic: Can I Ride With You?



In what seems like a lifetime ago, I worked in Lekki and lived at the other end of town. Before the completion of the first phase of the Lekki Epe Expressway, commuting to and from work was not fun.  I’d get to work and my colleagues and I would gather in the tea-room swapping tales about how long it took us to get home the day before and then compare it to how long it took to get to work this morning.

Then, my friend moved to Ajao-Estate and all was well with the world. I could now car-pool. This meant that I could go to and from work without having to curse my ancestors for not being wealthy arabs. On the long ride to and from  work, I’d gist with my friend, press my phone and on some off days I’d sleep  till we get to the “Airtel billboard” on the 3rd Mainland bridge stretch. I didn’t think too much of this time until last week when my friend  Tolulope sent me a Blackberry message “When you used to go to work with Muyiwa, did you ever sleep during the ride?” I thought about it long and hard; “well, not really! That time was mostly our gist time so I’m sure I spent 85% of the time chatting away like the parrot that I am.”

Tolulope’s issue is this: She gives some of her colleagues at work a ride to and from work and she noticed a trend. They like to sleep. According to her, she found this habit quite disconcerting and rather annoying. “I’m not their driver”

This was a tricky one. Did she want them to stay up and talk to her? If they were not in the car would she not still drive her car?  She responded that she knew she sounded a little unreasonable but she couldn’t help but be a little miffed.  “To make matters worse, whenever we’re approaching where they’ll get off, one of them makes sure she brushes her hair and leave hair all over my car. I’m really tired of carrying them”

I laughed at her, consoled her and then told her this matter could easily be solved by telling them to stop sleeping in the car even though she’d sound ridiculous.  However, I remembered when I used to drive to work and someone I gave a ride to had this constant habit of pressing her Blackberry phone and giggling incessantly. I suffered in silence. It used to drive me crazy for some reason but after a while, I just zoned out and cranked up the volume of my car stereo.

What do you guys think about car-pooling? As driver, do you feel the people in your car owe you an obligation to stay attentive and keep you company? As a “rider” do you feel like you don’t owe the driver any duty of care.  Do you think that it’s absolutely unreasonable to have expectations from people whom you give rides to? Do you make a conscious effort to show appreciation to person you car-pool with? Do these things really matter or is Tolulope just being pedantic?

Let’s discuss!

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You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Miss Mo

    December 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    When my nanny rides in the car with me, I threaten to slap her if she falls asleep lol. She finds this funny, but she makes sure she stays awake.

    I would threaten my friends or colleagues too with a slap if they dozed off while I was driving.

    • hmmmmmmmmmm

      December 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      I’d only car pool if we would take turns driving. Which means even if you dont own a car, you must know how to drive. So for instance, if I drive Mon. – Wed., you drive Thur. & Fri……fair deal which leaves all parties happy 🙂

      Haba how i go dey drive and you go dey car, my fuel and then you wan come make me cab man. God forbid!!!

  2. MissShayee

    December 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    A lot of people i know hate it when they drive and their ‘passengers’ sleep. To them, driving is a lot of work,you staying awake is part of shouldering the burden of the road trip. I think when you do hitch a ride with someone,don’t take it for granted that they drive you from time to time. Send them a message from time to time letting them know you appreciate the rides. Buy them their favorite snack so they know you care about them too,not just the ride. Also, i know it may be difficult,but please try to stay awake sometimes, so they don’t feel like they are your driver and resent you for it.

    Is it also ok for me to tell you to go get your own car? Thanks!

  3. Jibola L

    December 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Sleep for what?

    I will give you lift you’re not paying for and you will sleep or be pressing phone and be giggling? Is it a Limousine service?

    Abi se mo jo direba ni?

    I won’t say ANYTHING. I will “suddenly” stop passing your route. It’s that simple. I’d sooner drive alone than be a cab man in my own automobile.

    Oshi atiranu.

    • laide

      December 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      lmao oo..jibola ti pami!

  4. damidee

    December 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm


    i was just thinking about this yday. Sometimes its fun, sometimes it isnt. Check this. Remember last friday’s traffic, when Uncle Jona was around for Rccg congress, i spent 4 hours from yaba to ikeja and the riders i often drop off on the way, slept through it all. i wanted to scream and shout and pull my hair and say hey, i want to sleep too. so i just took it all in my stride. Other days, these riders would either be on long calls or chatting on their blackberries. There are just sometimes you want to be on your own and not have anyone in the car with you.
    So for me, the anger in me wells up when there is heavy traffic and my riders are asleep. it pisses me off.

  5. aby

    December 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    @ miss mo i agree with you.well if she was alone,its a diff thing and she’ll enjoy her ride alone.but having people in my car ,sleeping and leaving me as d driver,NO WAY!

  6. Lafunky

    December 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    When I give people a ride, I actually engage them in various conversation, so that, there won’t be awkward moment in the car. However, if the individual chooses to do their own thing,that’s the person own palava. I sometimes sing out/worship God when the person I give a ride is doing their own thing.

  7. Ipheoluwa o

    December 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I dnt see any big deal in some1 sleeping r pressing d fone while am driving.maybe cause am a quiet person,i prefer 2 nt tok truout d drive

    • .....just saying

      December 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Bet you’re the passenger

    • diamond

      December 21, 2012 at 11:39 am

      He/She doesnt have to be passenger. Some people are like that.

  8. tbn

    December 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Abeg, I’d appreciate a person I’m giving a daily lift to work to at least stay awake and chill with me rather than acting like I’m their driver by sleeping off or ignoring me by giggling on their bb while I drive. I don’t think Tolu is over reacting. If they were in a public transport will they sleep off? I no be cab man.

  9. nickyminaj

    December 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    my colleagues complains his wife is always sleeping instead of keeping him company. i find it hilarious.

    • penelopeia

      December 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      I do that to hubby all the time…lol, I pull the seat back and zzzzzz….it’s not my fault, i give in to nature too quickly.

    • Eno

      December 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      They could take turns driving so they could both get a chance to snooze on the ride to work 🙂

    • Nutella

      December 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      LOL! That is so me…
      On one of our many trips from our base to Port Harcourt, I had dozed off as usual. All of a sudden I felt the car had stopped moving for a while, only for me to open my eyes and Dear Husband had cleared by a police check point, pushed his own seat back and was sleeping just like me. I tapped him and asked what he was doing. He replied: ” having siesta, just like you always do. abi you think my own eyes can’t enjoy sleep on this Port Harcourt road?” We burst out laughing but mehn! Message conveyed oh.

    • Que

      February 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Nutella oooooo hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaaaahhhaaaaaa…..U definitely have them one of a kind hubby…very creative!!!! I like pple like dat, no long thing!

  10. cuteylicious

    December 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I think it is unfair and absolutely rude (when it becomes the status quo) to sleep off or giggle lousily when you are getting a lift from whoever. In the first place, the person giving you a ride is simply being kind/nice by doing so and it’s only courteous to do same. How? Keep the “driver” company (some drivers sleep off while driving, in case you don’t know, I’m sure you want to keep them mentally alert), open up reasonable discussions (I didn’t say just chatter all the way, trust me it’s better for some folks to keep quiet during the ride in order to maintain the driver’s sanity ‘cuz u don’t wanna know what some people chat about), chip in encouraging comments every now and then most especially when the traffic demons are on parade. If you can afford it, once in a while offer to buy something to keep the mouth busy in traffic ( chips and co…) but don’t let Uncle Fash and his men catch the driver munching oh. That said, it’ll take the mind off the driver off the hassles of the journey and it becomes a merry ride for all. I forgot to mention the fact that you should not litter the car, it’s pretty annoying to discover that your “precious” car, be it Jalopy or RR, at least it’s yours, is littered after dropping people off, it’s not nice na. Biko my people.

  11. Bebe

    December 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    When giving people lifts it really annoys me me when they doze of while i’m battling through the traffic- so i found a way out – i suddenly apply the brakes when they’re sleeping and if they hit thier head – too bad!! That’ll teach them – as if i too dont like to sleep! HEHEHHE

    • Bleed blue

      December 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Haba sister! that’s a bit hardcore, no?

  12. demmy

    December 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    for me i find it difficult to sleep when someone is driving me so i see no reason why someone shud sleep when am driving them o. the only person allowed to sleep while am driving is my mum. nyz usually i tell my friends if u dare sleep i wont wake u when we get to whr ur suppose to alight and this is sumfin they know i mean cos truly i wunt. althou have not experienced anyone sleep while am driving them sha cos me sef am the chatty type. so it wud b one gist or the other till we get to ur stop.

  13. impervious

    December 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    For goodness sake… this is why doing favours for our own people can be difficult. If you were driving yourself to work would you need someone other than your radio to be talking to you? I’ve carpooled abroad and the only thing I think drivers should request is (supplementary) fuel money… seeing as it is only fair. I can just imagine the person driving fuming that somebody who has no stimulus to keep them awake and is sitting in traffic has fallen asleep…. haba no need for maliciousness, otherwise don’t give people lifts.

    • hmmmmmmmmmm

      December 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      “car pooled abroad” did you say? Woman, please come spend a day in Lagos traffic then you would understand why people are fuming…… and no it is not “maliciousness”!!

    • diamond

      December 21, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Thank you. I buy your sentiments

  14. hauwa audu

    December 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    big LOL. Am guilty of this. i never stay awake on a ride for more than 20 mins. my dads friend used to give me ride to my office during NYSC. he practically had to rudely wake me up at my bus stop. i didnt think of it as anything until he advised my dad to ensure that i go to bed earlier. Embarassing things. At my age…chai.

    Anyway, i think its unfair to add extra time to ur own sleep hours while the poor driver suffers the terrible traffic. Navigating road early in the mornings and at rush hours in Lagos aint easy.

  15. In Gidi for Xmas

    December 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I think it is rude to fall asleep when getting a ride with someone (solo) unless there are multiple people in the car then its okay as long as someone is up keeping the driver company… O_o

  16. Tosyne

    December 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    LOL…….Jibola you are very harsh o……..i will not like to ride with you mehn!

  17. Jola

    December 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    LOL! I hardly have cause to ride with my dad, but whenever I do… Lol! We’ll gist until I sleep, and then he’ll MOST LIKELY punch my knee and ask me to wake up.. I know he doesn’t like it, but men.. I sleep o, and tell him sorry when I awake. My boyfriend on the other hand,doesn’t mind when I doze off.. He’ll just laugh and say,when me I start driving, he’ll even lie down in the back seat and sleep.. Hahaha! I”l be better, soon.. I know nobody likes a sleepY passanger 🙁

  18. bimmi.o

    December 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    hehehhe!lmao @all comments

  19. Osa

    December 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    This is a tricky one. It’s always nice to car pool but it all depends on your personality and the personality of the person to be car pooled

  20. Tolani

    December 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Post Hurricane Sandy there were some informal rules for carpoolers after NYC Mayor made carpooling compulsory; passengers don’t initiate convo except the driver does, they must have money for toll ready. Ideally, it should be up to the driver to make rules and not suffer in silence.

    I know of someone who complained when a passenger read, chatted via BBM, slept or looked out of the window during rides. Moral of the lesson? Such rules must be attainable and not obnoxious.

  21. adenike

    December 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Well,I’m a chatterbox anyway so any driver will be fine with me – I’ll chat you to death sef. But I read moods easily so when i sense you’re not in the mood,trust me,I’ll just lay low.

  22. Ajoke

    December 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Pedantic? *goes to dictionary*

    Anyways, it is kind of rude for people who only know you casually to get rides from you and sleep in your car or be BBing & giggling or talking on the phone or whatever but at the same time, I think the only solution is for you to either ignore those things (bc @ the end of the day it’s rather petty to make it a big deal) or you can stop giving them rides, or I suppose you could also say something to them but again, rather petty if you ask me.

    If you are giving someone rides to be courteous because you are a nice person, if the person is ungrateful or lacks understanding of the unwritten carpooling code of conduct I don’t really think you should bother yourself about it. Just do your good deed & live your life, there are more important things to worry about than whether or not your carpoolers are staying awake in your car…

  23. xoxo

    December 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    It is plain RUDE to doze off in my car. Would you sleep off if you were in a danfo or taxi? And its more rude to eat or drink stuff and litter my car. I will politely tell you to out the trash in your bag before you alight.

  24. taiiiiii

    December 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    if its a coworker that i dont know that well or getting to know and im the one with the car, ill rather them be quiet…I dont like noise. Ill rather listen to my radio.

  25. debbie

    December 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I really do not care if the *rider* sleeps. I am the chatty type, like i could chat you such that you will prefer to take danfo than be in my car- and even with that you still want to sleep, enjoy. What will piss me off silly is if you create a mess in my car. I have enough mess already, so i wont appreciate someone adding to it! Or you play music on your phone and i can hear sounds from the ear piece in your ears….phewwww. You can blow up your ear drum buh pls i dont wanna hear any sound. I find that rude!

  26. Kbee

    December 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Had a good laugh reading all d comments. I personally don’t sleep off while I car pool, I read moods, if I notice d person is up for chats, I usually flow with moods. However I find it annoying when some constant tenants in my car sleep all d time.

  27. shydiva

    December 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I give people rides on our way to work everyday. Truth be told, i’d rather if they all shut up & leave me to my thoughts. but one keeps yapping all the freakingway!! 🙁

    • Jiddah

      December 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Lmao! The idea is to watch the person’s mood and let him lead the convo

  28. Eno

    December 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I think it is awfully impolite to sleep or be engrossed with you phone when someone offers you that kind of favor.Show some good manners please. The least you can do to show some appreciation is keep them company. Abi the ‘driver’ no deserve extra sleep or pinging time?

  29. OK

    December 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    One good turn deserve another, courtesy demands that you at least keep awake, and better still, engage the person that’s doing a good deed by offering you a free ride. This might even help save y’all’s lives in the death traps that are Nigerian roads…

  30. Nwanyi na aga aga

    December 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Loool! A colleague of mine complained he stopped following one of our bosses cos the guy hates ppl sleeping in his car. i didnt understand but i guess its cos neither of us drives. I am so forwarding this article to him. Anyway i cant relate cos i dont like asking for favours. I work in the same building with one of my neighbours but dont join him, everybody wanders why, but i guess this is one of the reason cos i will really like to sleep. Yeah i sleep in the BRT. Loool!

    • Italian Princess

      December 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      *wonders* but it’s fine… we get the point. :p

  31. Nkan be

    December 20, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I use to sleep in cars before whether if someone gives me a ride or I pay for the ride,but with the kind way them dey kidnap people and with bad roads and reckless drivers.i have started shinning my eyes well well

  32. Heeba

    December 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Una dey sleep!! I pity u guys one day u will wake up inside one forest in ogun state!! With the recent security situation in the country I will advise people not to sleep in public transport or other people’s cars trust no one!! And if u r hitching a ride with a loved one help the driver be his second pair of eyes on the road it’s not easy driving

  33. Ade

    December 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm


  34. Zimgirl

    December 21, 2012 at 1:29 am

    You know, when I read this article, I immediately thot of our situation in zimbabwe. When I am driving, I insist on carrying ‘talking’ passengers else if it becomes too quiet, I become irritable and it’s easy to sleep on the wheel. Besides, I ain’t a chauffer for anyone! When I am a passenger esp in these public transport omnibuses (popularly known as kombis in Zim) I will not dare to sleep lest they pass my destination and I will have to fork out extra. I do not understand why people like sleeping whilst travelling. People should just learn to be alert to avoid experiencing unpleasant mishaps …

  35. Ikunkun

    December 21, 2012 at 1:57 am

    lol…just had a similar discussion about squatters that don’t socialize with their ‘landlords’. I think if you are staying for free at someones house you should at least make good company if they don’t mind….i took a girl in once and she’ll always lock herself up in the room(watching vids/listening to music)….it was soo annoying. I wasn’t looking for a bff or nothing…but at least come out and watch tv or say something more than a half-hearted hello…..

  36. bitchpls

    December 21, 2012 at 4:39 am

    i have a friend who does that alot whenever we are driving home from school or back to school from home. there are 3 of us, we go to school in another state so we drive 12 hrs to get home or to go back to school. this my friend dont drive/she dont have a car, she car-pools with us or she drives but drives so slow, me and the other one are the ones who do all the driving, but this one always like to drive shot-gun, she copy that passengers seat and dozes off, imagine people driving 12 hrs to get home, i have to keep my other friend awake/she have to keep me awake. the worst part is, when she wakes up, she always want something to eat or to use the bathroom. so we have a policy that everybody must be awake whenever we are driving home or back to school and if any of us is sleepy we should pull over by the side of the road or in a gas station and everybody can sleep whether we are sleepy or not lol……..which one sef?

    • ikunkun

      December 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      lol….i can imagine…took my friend on a road trip i paid for 2days ago…homegirl slept all the way there and when i stopped for gas she was complaining we were not there yet….I wanted to “chicago bus driver uppercut” her……msscheww!

  37. Bimbo

    December 21, 2012 at 8:19 am

    [email protected] all comments. I used to go home with a colleague b4 I bot my car,she was way older Dan myself n rily nice to me,she actually approached me weeks afta I joined the company to ask how I get to work and go home,told her I had a constant cab man, she shouted,haaaaa! U must be a big girl o! We both laughed and discovered we live in the same area,so she offered to drop me in front of my estate everyday. We gist a lot n gossip,I offer to pay for stuffs she buys in traffic,like potatoes,chips n others. She declines but I insist. We both have resigned anyway.

  38. feisty chic

    December 21, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I hate , HATE, HATE! anyone sleeping in my car when I am driving talk more of when the person is in the front passenger seat. You dare not try it. I tell people this before they even seat down so that they know before hand. Plus the fact that I can talk a dime to a dozen. I love having discussions when carpooling. Littering my car is a huge no no too. Used to sleep in public transport until my dad told me the story of when he was young and travelling in a bus, how the wood from a truck in front of his vehicle plunged into their windscreen. The fact that he was awake and saw it coming was his saving grace cos the passenger besides him who was asleep was injured badly. Since then I no longer close my eyes in any vehicle.

  39. Jiddah

    December 21, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I dont think your friend is being pedantic, she has a right to feel that way o!.

    i car pool with my bro in-law. I try not to take long calls, chat away on my phone or even doze off. The ride is about ten minutes, before we talk about weather, family, and other things its time to get off. I dont even touch up my lipstick in his car sef…..

  40. Damie

    December 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I hate, hate people sleeping off on me. I don’t have a car yet but when mu colleague drives we talk all the way till i get down. And we have become good friends because of that. Sometimes i do the driving instead. I think it’s important to let your irritation known. Besides, common sense should let you know that you shouldn’t sleep. Finally, for those who don’t like passengers talking, they don’t need to talk. Just staying awake while you are struggling with mad, danfo drivers gives some sort of moral support.

  41. Bunmi

    December 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I hitch a ride with a colleague everyday to work, and quite frankly I find it rude to be on a call the whole trip, chatting, sleeping or just keep quiet and not chat him up the whole time…especially if he’s in a chatty mood. I once dozed off, and I had to apologise…

  42. sj

    December 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    atoke love ur writing!!!!
    u r definitely a LAWYER!!! ‘DUTY OF CARE’ – Tort!!!
    love u

  43. atm

    April 18, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I don’t usually comment but here goes.

    I don’t mind one person sleeping while there are others. It’s not necessarily for chitchat though.

    What I hate the most though is when you keep me waiting for you. And you’ll be lying about where you are, and i’ll be the one spending credit calling you, especially when i altered my route for you. What kind of patience do i have sef? After a while i turned hardcore and started leaving them behind. #NoRoughPlay
    Or leaving your flask or trash around. A friend did it sometimes and i washed the flask but the next time i pretended not to see it and when she got in the car, i mistakenly noticed the flask and said ‘oh, you left your flask again? Eeyah it will be so messy…’. she got the hint, apologised and didn’t do it again. *hidesface*

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