You think you are a pretty good driver, right? You may have driven on all the roads and highways in the world but if you haven’t driven in Lagos, you simply haven’t driven at all. I actually never drove before I came to Lagos (but I had taken driven lessons in the UK but failed #StoryForAnotherDay) so the experience was very interesting given my reference point. I can categorically say that driving in Lagos is the true test of a real driver. Take it from someone who knows.
If you are planning to drive in Lagos in the nearest future or just want to be entertained, then these rules are for you:
1) If you must drive in Lagos, do so with the knowledge that everyone else is mad except yourself. Avoid every other road user and do not think that they care much about their lives or their cars as you do [especially those drivers driving recklessly when their owners are not in the car).
2) Danfo drivers believe they are immortal. Never yield to the temptation to teach them otherwise. You will only blame yourself in the end. By the way, Danfo’s are yellow 10-15 seater buses as below.
3) Our “Okada” (Motorcycle) riders have a pact with suicide. Avoid them like plagues.
4) There will be traffic. It is no myth. Like many other mega cities across the world, Lagos has its own terrible gridlocks. You might need to study the system properly. Know when to leave your home and when to simply stay put.
5) The only time you pay for damages to a car is if you destroy at least any of the lamps. If it’s simply a bump or a scratch, just say sorry and move on! Most people don’t have insurance so don’t bring all that insurance story their way.
6) When overtaking, always turn to look at the next person eyeball to eyeball and get some sort of acknowledgment, just because you never know! Your trafficating light is a signal for most NOT to let you overtake. That is the joy of over taking in Lagos.
7) Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive bodywork, except you want to spend your whole day fixing your car #TheyHaveNothingToLose
8) You will be scratched because the bumper-to-fender movement is most likely to get you scratched by a biker, someone riding a Keke (tricycle), a danfo (commuter bus), or yet another private road user. Take very special cars out on weekends to avoid sad stories (when I say OUT, I mean stay on the island not the mainland. Don’t be fooled, many who drive cars do not have any insurance.
9) 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 (we are just wired that way).
10) Finally, PLEASE if you get caught breaking any law by any chance, do not allow the police, traffic wardens, FRSC, Kai brigades, fire brigades, VIO, LASTMA, LAMATA, LASWA to enter your car. If they happen to get in, do not drive from that spot (veer off traffic & settle promptly). If they don’t agree to your payment amount, pretend that you are calling your uncle who is in the army (believe me it always works). Never EVER follow them to any sort of office except you are ready to pay ten times more what was demanded. Also, if you’re from ABROAD, ditch that accent ASAP.
Good luck driving in Lagos.
Are you a driver in Lagos? Do share any rules you think are worth knowing. Share your LAGOS DRIVING stories, I know you have many!!