Monday, September 25, 2006

Driving In Lagos: A GUIDE

I got this funny mail (yes, it was a forward) and thought I should share. Its an interesting read and a guide of some sort to drivers on Lagos roads. Also, here is a write-up on public transportation in Lagos.

Lagos is often acclaimed as the most exciting city in Nigeria in which to drive. Who would argue? For those of you who think that driving inEngland is stressful, herewith, for newcomers and visitors, here are a few basic rules of the road for driving in Las Gidi:

First of all, know which battalion to which you belong. There is an unending and vicious road war in Lagos.

In the first battalion, are motorcyclists popularly called Okada.They have a pact with suicide - avoid them at all costs.

In the second battalion are commercial bus drivers. Their buses areknown by various names including -Danfo, Molue (literally means "I go beat you"),Bolekaja (means "Come down, make we fight),Kabu-kabu, etc.As these names imply, they are not the smartest specie onthe face of the planet. Avoid them.

In the third battalion are the "guys of the siren" escortriders, bullion vans, trailers, etc. They have immunity against death.Besides, they get a medal for every scratch, and a certificate of bravery for every bash.

In the fourth battalion are private guys like me. All we have at our disposal are big talk and empty threats - we have no rights. Sometimes we employ what is called "Ogboju"(bravado) to get by.

Further rules:

- Danfo drivers believe they are immortal. Don't yield to the temptation to teach them otherwise.

- Get used to "Okada" drivers saying things like:"Commot that scrap for road", "Mr. I go drive myself". It is normal, just ignore them.

- The first parking space you see will be the last parking space yousee. Grab it.

- Learn to swerve abruptly. In Lagos, potholes (and sometimes car-holes) are put in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes.

- There is no such thing as "one-way" in Lagos. Expect traffic from any direction at all times.

- Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive bodywork.

- It is traditional in Lagos to honk your horn at cars that don't move the instant their bumpers are not touching the next car.

- When asking for directions, always ask at least 3 people. Lagosians claim to know every inch of the city - even newcomers.

- Never use directional signals, since they only confound and distract other Lagos drivers, who are not used to them.

- Similarly, never attempt to give hand signals. Lagos drivers,unused to such courtesies, will think you are making obscene gestures to them. This could be very bad for you in Lagos.

- Hazard lights (popularly called "double pointer") is not, (as commonly supposed) used to indicate a hazard. It is a warning to you that he is a bonafide Lagos driver, and as such, will not stop under any circumstance.Take him extremely seriously especially if he backs it up with a continuous blast from his "horn".

- At any given time , do not stand on the zebra crossing expecting traffic to yield to you, else you will have to explain to the oncoming traffic that you look like a zebra.

- Speed limits are arbitrary figures posted only to make you feel guilty.

-Remember that the goal of every driver is to get there first by whatever means necessary.

- Above all, keep moving.


  1. Good one there.
    Recently, I heard over the radio that Paris & Mexico city have the worst taxi drivers. I was worried that Lagos wasn't on the world map yet again.

  2. Hi, Anthony. LOL!! How can they make a list like that and not include us? It boggles the mind.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  3. I didn't live in Lagos before coming here but I did stay at various times with an uncle or aunt.

    This article truly hits the nail on the head.

    Thanks for sharing...

  4. I'm at work right now and laughing my head off. Hope my boss didn't hear me. Very good post.


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