Several years back I dreamt, fantasized, hoped and prayed to own a car and drive myself in Lagos, Matter of fact I always said "until I have a car in Lagos, Lagos isn't complete".....lol. However, Lagos was still very sane back then and watching people drive or being driven around was such a cool thing. I remember one of those days when daddy took us out and there was traffic somewhere around Oba Akran Avenue, I smiled and wove to the kids in the car beside us and a few years after I met one of them at my GCE exam center...lol.
Many years passed and as I got closer to fulfilling this dream/fantasy/hope/prayer of mine, I developed Vehophobia. I was run over by a bike while trying to cross and from then I just got sick of it. Driving became so scary....I couldn't deal with the madness in Lagos. I saw several bashing and fights on Lagos roads and they all just reinforced my fear.
Finally the time came for me to start driving and I chickened out. I tried the first time and I almost peed on myself. I couldn't even feel the car going in the wrong direction. I felt so ashamed of myself but I still couldn't bring myself to drive the day after.
I took a long break till Stacey came and like in the movies my seven star general showed up with my very own car...hehehehe.....I was super excited but after all the car papers were ready and the car had to start its job, the fear crept in all over again. We got someone to drive and tutor me for a while but I didn't even learn a thing for the first week. I just sat at the back and chilled like a madam. (DO you blame me?)
Finally week 2 passed and I started driving proper. I would slam the breaks at any slight obstruction, and accelerate like the car would cry if it moves too fast. lol. I was such a "fraidy cat". All law enforcement guys scared the life out of me, I was such a chicken.
Days turned into weeks and gradually the fear began to fade. Thumbs up to my teacher Sesan (he probably would never see this) and my friend Micheal O who constantly gingered me on the wheels. I remember while descending the bridge at Iyana Oworo and a danfo driver broke my side mirror, Micheal just told me to stay in the car and he went for the guy...lol...It was war for the guy that evening.
After a few months of driving in Lagos, I have learnt a lot and would like to share with you.
#1. I focus on the big picture (my destination) and act like I am the only sane person on the road.
#2. I stay on my lane as much as I can except there is an obstruction ahead or I have to switch lanes to get to my destination.
#3. I have learnt to not trafficate when switching lanes because the second you do that people will accelerate like they are on a mission to ensure your goal of switching lanes is not accomplished.
#4. I honk the horn at everything and anything especially when overtaking big trucks.
#5. No slow motion when driving. You snooze you lose especially in rush hour traffic.
#6. Still on rush hour traffic and no slow motion, I almost got robbed one evening along Osodi-Apapa expressway but thank God and my "no slow motion" resolution, I got away.
#7. Still on this matter, I try to follow the car ahead very closely so there is no room for another vehicle to push me out of the lane. That thing happens so fast, especially when descending that bridge at Iyana Oworo, before I blink the buses and trucks have yanked me off the lane and I find that I am trying to find my bearing...lol
#8. I never drag lanes with buses, trucks and tricycles "keke marwa". They will just stain your car and be prostrating. One of them tricycle guys squeezed himself between my car and a bus and pulled down my bumper, he started begging and prostrating. I didn’t spare the guy o, I dragged him to the nearest panel beater who fixed the bumper and guess what, when it was time to pay he brought out .......you won't believe how much... N70 to pay the panel beater. I just busted into laughter. Seriously! N70....I paid the panel beater though but I was glad I wasted his time...I wasn't in a hurry so.....
#9. I don't exactly like driving at nights but if I have to drive at nights, I turn on my full lights and squint so the oncoming vehicles lights don't hit me badly but mine would blind anyone that tries rubbish.lol
#10. I never let the madness get to me, no matter how careful and nice you are while driving somebody will still abuse you.
#11. Driving in Lagos is not for the fainthearted. Enjoy your next ride.