Ordinarily one would expect that all drivers be sane and be of good conduct, but with my experience over the years as a qualified driver, the opposite is true.
As a fellow Nigerian, you must have witnessed how some drivers at different times exhibit erratic behavior unbecoming of a qualified driver. You have probably even driven as an unlicensed driver or shown signs of aggression at some point.
It is on this note I am categorizing drivers into three major categories: the good, bad and ugly drivers, and thereafter acquaint all readers with the importance of being a good driver.
The Good Drivers…
Are licensed drivers
Those under this category always take the pain to engage in any lawful process that will help aid the collection of their license. As first time drivers, they will either go to the nearest Road Safety office or check online to get the accredited driving school nearest to them.
Thereafter, they register and engage in all the driving learning sessions. After they must have completed their learning sessions and gotten their certificate, filled the necessary documents and biometrics, they proceed to the nearest bank for payment. They will then be checked and their documents processed by the necessary institutions (FRSC & VIO).
Afterwards, if certified to be licensed, he or she will be given a date for capture, and if otherwise, he or she will be advised to go for another set of sessions.
And for those getting a renewal, there are two options available for them: to re-capture or go for a bypass. Re-capturing entails going back to the nearest command to capture, as you may have gotten a change of name or address, but in a situation where all information is still the same, you are advised to go for a bypass: Fill online and click “No” where it is asked if you are to capture.
Obey all traffic signs and rules
Traffic signs and rules are designed to aid the smooth and safe passage of all road users. When you are being taught how well to drive in any accredited driving school, you will be exposed to the Nigeria Highway Code and other relevant materials on road safety.
Therefore, it is a general attribute of the good drivers to exhibit what was taught whenever they drive. They do not only obey traffic rules and signs when it is convenient for them, but they also adhere when it’s inconvenient. They are always of the ultimate goal of safety and not convenience.
Respects other road users
Good drivers are not only known for respecting and obeying traffic signs and rules, they also respect the will and right of others, especially when they know it will lead to all road users safety.
Control their emotions
It is a natural phenomenon on roads to either be angered deliberately or unknowingly by other road users, but in most cases where good drivers are involved, their emotions are always controlled so that they can continue driving safely.
Anticipate their journey
A good driver can never be caught unaware of the route he or she is plying even if it’s the first time on the route. They must have done their findings, asked questions physically, queried online. They anticipate the routes with best road network, shortest distance, less traffic, effective traffic light, and understand the rush hours, etc., before embarking on the journey.
The Bad Drivers…
Are unlicensed drivers
They are always on the lookout for the easiest route to getting licensed, even if it’s illegal. They don’t intend to go through the necessary and process of getting licensed. Instead they prefer approaching those who tout.
Don’t know traffic rules
Since the oil boom Nigerian roads have experienced the geometric growth of vehicles nationwide. This and many more has led to the ripple effect of seeing those who know nothing about driving and traffic rules behind the wheels. Their understanding is that as long as you can move a vehicle from one point to the other, you can as well drive it on any road.
The Ugly Drivers…
Obey traffic rules at their will
Those who fall under this category obviously would have gone through accredited driving schools and obtained a valid license, but because of over confidence or nonchalance, they deem it fit to adhere to traffic rules and officers only when they feel like it. You sometimes see or overhear them boasting about how many times they have engaged in this ugly act without being caught. They are those who believe that mastery of driving only involves the numbers of years they have been driving.
Easily get irritated and angry
They also don’t have the grace or buffer to withstand any form of driving outside their speed. They see other road users as unfit or unqualified drivers. They believe they are the best and whenever someone gets on their nerves, they tend to lose their cool.
See other drivers as competitors
Mostly they exhibit this unruly act of increasing speed or finding any possible means to impede others when they are about be overtaken. They do not like being overtaken, even if they are extremely slow or on the wrong lane. They ultimately lose their cool when they notice the other driver trying to overtake them is of the opposite gender.
Always claim right of way
While it is good to claim right of way when driving, it is advised this should only be done when your safety and that of others is guaranteed. But for the ugly drivers, they do not care for others’ safety. Instead, they only care about their rights.
Never signal when changing lanes
The ugly drivers also never signal when they are changing lanes. They just look to their left or right and swerve, expecting the drivers behind to know intuitively their plans.
In light of the above, we are all implored to be of good conduct when driving, as it has been highlighted that the only kind of drivers who are guaranteed of safe trip are good drivers. It is dangerous to be a bad driver and extremely dangerous to be an ugly driver.
Olagunju (2011) says and I quote, in his book “Road Sense,” that accidents do not just happen, they are caused, so be careful as it is not bad luck, but bad driving. Let’s drive to survive. Be a good driver.