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Yahaya AbdulQudus🇳🇬🦂 @qoodooz
, 17 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Some few years ago, whilst conducting a research about traffic laws, I stumbled upon a blogger's extremely and vividly apt description of road users' attitude in the country. Just encountered it in my archives again and would love to share
Below are the observations of a foreigner residing in Jos, the capital city of Plateau State. Christie Winkler on her blog “Those Winklers” wrote:
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 happens to be lines in the road, feel free to disregard them to turn, avoid potholes or get to your destination sooner.
2. Speed limits, when actually posted, should be considered mere suggestions.
3. Use the horn liberally to let other drivers know 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.
4. Pass as needed, regardless of oncoming traffic, curves in the road or other traditional cautions.
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 shock and
(d) a driver who clearly believes he’s immortal will likely come barreling behind you at extreme velocities.
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.”
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.
8. Yield to pedestrians? What? Cars are WAY bigger than pedestrians! (See Rule #7).
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.
10. Rules are subject to personal interpretation and desire to follow.
…And this is why we pray for safety before driving.
Sadly, most of these are true of traffic behavior not only in Jos but in most cities in Nigeria.
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