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December 2, 2013

After reading this, I was very saddened, but the fact is, the 10 rules for driving in Nigeria highlighted are NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. No one should please use the usual myopic jibe here that, WHY DO WE TALK DOWN ON OURSELVES!!! NO, we are not talking down on ourselves, instead the UNPALATABLE HARD TRUTH IS BEING SAID. Let the government step up to the plate, involve the professionals who ply their Driver Training and Road Safety trade in the developed countries to help salvage the situation. AREN’T WE CONCERNED THAT WE SEEM NOT TO BE AT PAR WITH THE REST OF THE DEVELOPED WORLD IN MOST, AND WE ARE ASPIRING TO BE ONE OF THE TOP 20 ECONOMIES BY THE YEAR 2020 (VISION 20:20:20). ACT NOW, CONTACT US FOR THE NEEDED ADVICE. Before then, let us wait for the response of the RATIONALISERS AND JUSTIFIERS OF WHY THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE AND THEIR UNENDING EXCUSES

Rule 1: Lanes are discretionary, and surely one more car can fit – even if yours is going the opposite direction. After all, every Nigerian driver knows to expect traffic from any direction at any given time. If there happen to be lines in the road, feel free to disregard them to turn, avoid potholes or get to your destination sooner.

Rule 2: Speed limits, when actually posted, should be considered mere suggestions.

Rule 3: Use the horn liberally to let other drivers that you’re there (since people don’t seem to look otherwise), that you’re passing or that you’re being passed. The horn is also used when coming up a hill, down a hill, around a corner, turning, approaching an intersection, upon seeing someone you know, and if others are honking. Expect to be violently honked at if you take more than 3 milliseconds to accelerate when a light turns green or if you don’t burst through that 5 centimeter opening that the person behind you vehemently believes you should take advantage of.

Rule 4: Pass as needed, regardless of oncoming traffic, curves in the road or other traditional cautions.

Rule 5: Be prepared to brake or swerve at any moment, since:
(A) every spot is a potential pick-up or drop-off spot for taxis;
(B) a herd of cows or stray goat could suddenly wander into the road;
(C) large potholes the approximate size of swimming pools are strategically placed throughout the nation to test your driving skills and your car’s shocks; and
(D) a driver who clearly believes he’s immortal will likely come barreling behind you at extreme velocities (But hey, he honked, so you were warned! (See Rule 4.) Note: This is not the time to communicate to said delusional driver that he’s not immortal. Just move.

Rule 6: Those guys in orange vests are traffic cops, not actors or dancers tactically stationed at major intersections (despite their animated antics), and you are supposed to obey their hand signals – if you can figure out what they are, since one man’s “stop” is another man’s “go”… and actually one man’s “stop” is also often his “go.”

Rule 7: Bigger vehicles have the right of way (mainly because the bigger the vehicle, the less inclined the driver is to adhere to the few rules that do exist). Beware of semi-trucks that disregard oncoming traffic and blow through intersections, often because of size or faulty brakes. Beware also of motorcycles and taxis, which think they have the right of way and dodge in and out of traffic, regardless of how little space there is for them to fit. Motorcycle drivers also regularly drive in your blind spots, surround your vehicle at any stopping point (bearing much resemblance to roaches congregating around food), and pass on both the left and the right in tight spaces, never mind that turn signal you have on. Not coincidentally, there is an entire hospital wing dedicated to motorcycle accidents.

Rule 8: Yield to pedestrians? What? Cars are WAY bigger than pedestrians! (See Rule 7)

Rule 9: The number of seats in a vehicle is not indicative of how many people can actually sit in it (or on it). Incidentally, don’t feel limited to transporting just humans: Cattle, sheep and tonight’s (live-but-not-for-long) chicken dinner have to get there, too. (And the other taxi passengers don’t even seem to mind.) Remember that if you can balance it, you can transport it. Mattresses, animals, plywood and long metal poles, even on motorcycles, are no exception.
Note: Cattle horns make great balancing tools, especially when precariously sitting on top of an oversized truck.

Rule 10: Rules are subject to personal interpretation and desire to follow.

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