Driving in Lagos could be nerve-racking; it’s not enough that you are driving correctly, you also have to be extremely mindful of other motorists. One minute you are cruising down the road, humming to your favorite song or lost in one happy thought, next thing you know they don use their reggae spoil your blues. From ‘Godwin’ to ‘You don hit my car’ in a split second, just like that.
My 3 step approach to driving in Lagos goes thus: ensure I’m a decent driver, let God take the wheel when my patience is being tested, and if all else fails I relax knowing that my insurance company has my back.
I share the belief that one’s personality is reflected in their actions and inactions. Driving is not an exception to this rule, you can get a glimpse of one’s character and values by their theatrics on the road. Over time I have been able to profile most of the drivers I’ve come across into a few groups. You may ask, “How does that help reduce the price of fuel?” In my case I have noticed it helps when I identify the type of driver I’m dealing with; I am better guided in my response to the situation, thereby helping God to help me.
So let’s check out the 7 categories of drivers that caught my eye, we have the:
Team ‘Prim and Proper’- the good guys
They do not over speed, they use their indicator properly, they do not jump queues or pull some illegal stunts, their driving is just right. People like my Dad are found in this group, they believe that ‘slow and steady wins the race’, and ‘it’s not how far but how well’, they are quite risk-averse.
Membership of this team however is not solely dictated by character. Owners of expensive vehicles who cannot afford ‘stories that touch’ form part of this group, they stay in the inner lanes far far away from the Danfos, refusing to venture out of their comfort zone till they get to their destination.
Team ‘It’s all about me’
These are the drivers who think nothing of straddling two lanes while trying to decide which lane to settle for, they refuse to turn on their trafficator before veering off the road (the expectation is that you should be in their head to know where/when they intend to turn off the road), they don’t mind stopping in the middle of the road to ask for directions, or engaging in phone calls while in motion. I’m not a fan of this category of drivers…enough said
Maybe it’s our love for the adrenalin rush or our impatience, maybe it’s the need to compensate for a career in car racing that we missed out on…the fact is we are speed demons on the road. We dislike being stuck in traffic or behind a slow moving vehicle and are the usual culprits behind most rear-end collisions.
Team ‘Sharp Boy’
These peeps have no regard whatsoever for order, structure or even BRT and one-way lanes, they can cut corners for Africa! Darting in and out of lanes like unwanted vermin in a house, they see an orderly queue and proceed to jump it. They switch lanes to the front of your car, without turning on their blinker, in a well-executed move that will have a Formula One driver scratching his head. The Danfos and Keke Napeps are the poster boys for this group
I’m a card carrying member of this association, before I learnt how to ‘straighten my hand’ I could block any errant driver who wanted to chance me. This category of people do not suffer fools gladly on the highway, they take it personal! You want to switch lanes and get in front of their vehicle? Do the right thing, use your indicator. You jumped the queue and want them to take pity on you and give you space to enter? No way in hell! Female drivers and taxi drivers account for the majority of this team. Their common enemy? Team ‘Sharp Boy’!
Team ‘I have nothing to lose’
Feel free to ‘drag lane’ with these guys if you have a death wish for your car. Driving cars that should be in ‘Owode Onirin’ (our equivalent of a scrapyard in Lagos) due to their old age and/or being riddled with battle scars, they are very aware that an additional dent or scrape will not make a marked change to their vehicles, and they capitalize on that knowledge big time.
When I find myself being drawn into a scrap with representatives of this group, I tell myself that the person is just looking for who to drag down to his/her level…#NotEveryTimeYetyneWins…life na jeje.o.
Driving didn’t come naturally to me. My folks had quite a few moments where they tore their hair out, wondering if I would ever master the art of driving. It didn’t help matters that I had a younger sibling who was a proficient driver for +5years at the time, thankfully time makes most things better (my driving inclusive). The usual suspects in this group are the ‘Learners’. However we’ve all had our silly moment(s) behind the steering wheel e.g. when trying to locate an address for the first time, not paying attention while lost in thought etc.
Nowadays when I feel the urge to increase the speed of my car or put a troublesome driver in his place, a phrase my Dad used to tell me anytime I came home with a newly acquired dent/scratch comes to mind, it goes thus, “My dear *inserts name*, the person who gets to his destination safely and without any incident is the person who can drive”. So let us put aside the impatience, the need to get even, the sharp moves/stunts, and most importantly do not drive under the influence. We owe it to ourselves to make our roads safe and drama free.
So, what type of driver are you, do you agree or disagree with the group profiling above, what other groups should be added? Let’s share.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Ian Allenden