On this occasion I want us to specially welcome the rain; it comes with a lot of talents, it creates memories, sometimes good memories while other times it awakens the gloom in the hearts of individuals. The rainy season is bound to come and when it does we must embrace it with warm arms.
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather – John Ruskin
Travelling during rainy season can add a level of complication to your journey. For some reasons, I have made a few trips recently between Lagos and Osogbo (capital of Osun state), each one more unique than the other.
Today, I want to share a typical “rainy day” experience with you! and hand down some tips on the way.
Rainy days usually have a bad reputation. It can make your trip memorable or otherwise, it’s always good to prepare for them.
Some hours into our journey, Mr. Abiodun, the bus driver suddenly stopped the vehicle, he paused for a moment, looked at me then revved the engine. It’s been raining for sometime now and the road ahead was engulfed in a pool of water.
After a brief period of intense thinking, the driver said, “*this motor no go fit pass here at all, I go need follow another place” On hearing this, the lady beside me got dissapointed, her best bet was she would be reaching her boyfriend’s house in an hour or thereabout, at this point, that would be impossible.
In Nigeria, road travel comes with a lot of woes and hiccups, a trip by road is cheaper and affords passengers a chance to take in the scenic route.
The flooded roadway was a no-go for our Mazda 18-seater bus, it would have killed the engine. Mr. Abiodun turned the bus around and headed towards an alternative route.
Back in Lagos at the park in Ikorodu, after filling the personal information form, the vehicle was literally pushed to start because of a faulty engine, it was ridiculous.
About 5-minutes down the alternative route, we encountered another flood! We ran from one water body to meet another, what a tragedy. Now, there was no way of avoiding this one, our driver had to figure out some way out of this.
From nowhere, the lady gasped, “*chei, the thing we dey run from we meet am for front” I laughed a bit, this was Nigerian roads at its best. Revving the engine once more, Mr. Abiodun proceeded into the flooded area and guess what, we passed.
First off, immersion in water can wreak havoc on a vehicle, especially its engine, electrical system, and interior. It is important you utilise these steps to prevent hydrolocking, losing control of your vehicle or stalling.
- Rev the engine a bit in readiness for your encounter.
- Stay on the crown of the flooded roadway, this is where the water level is lowest.
- Drive through the water very slowly in first gear (about 1-2mph)
- Be mindful of obstacles and hazards, watch other motorists.
- Speed up gradually and leave the flooded area.
If the engine stalls, do not start the vehicle to see if it still works, while this is tempting, it could damage it beyond repair.
#Tip 1: Avoid flooded areas if possible and drive carefully through them when inevitable.
Earlier that day, we witnessed about 3 stops because of the engine’s condition, one was due to sheer carelessness. The driver suddenly parked by Lagos-Ibadan expressway to greet some folks and when it was time to move he called their attention to help him push, while this was annoying and worrisome, I took it all in because I’ve become accustomed to the nonchalant attitude some of these “road transporters” exhibit.
Futher reflection took me back to when the rain began pouring, the month was February, a change of weather should have been welcomed instead it brought with it clogged highways and discomfort, I should have checked the weather forecast earlier that day because I was shivering from time to time, my shirt wasn’t thick enough. I still enjoyed watching the rain.
#Tip 2: Google the weather forecasts and keep up to date on weather reports.
#Tip 3: Watch the rain lash down in a electric display of thunder and lightening, enjoy this beautiful scenery.
A little into the journey, Mr. Abiodun reminded me of my seat belt. I engaged it but it wasn’t clicking, I had to sit on it and each time the vehicle galloped (potholes) it got loose. I was reminded each time of Federal Road Safety Officers, one or two of them would have caught me trying to put it on, while this was frustrating it couldn’t be compared to when I travelled from Osun to Lagos one time, that bus was a moving coffin! At a point, I whipped out my earpiece and listened to good music, Falz’s new album, moral instruction and Asa’s bed of stones.
#Tip 4: Listen to music or read a book.
#Tip 5: Ensure your phone is fully charged and carry a power bank.
Close to Sagamu in Ogun State, ongoing construction work caused a little gridlock. As usual, disorderly and impatient motorists and motorcyclists plunged into the opposing lane and traffic jam shot up from 1 degree to a 100! The highlight of the whole thing was when, out of nowhere a Nigerian Army Soldier emerged, he took a cane and flogged those on the opposing lane. It was one of the funniest things I saw that day and I wanted to film (you have to imagine this) but was a little scared he would notice me. I just laughed as passengers quickly alighted the okadas’ in fear of being lashed.
The lady beside me was really funny, we had stimulating conversations about the journey and time it would take. There was a moment she was asked by the driver to turn the key to ignition and pedal brake as he pushed. It was her first time visiting the destination, she didn’t have a hint about driving. I helped a little.
#Tip 6: Get to know other Travellers.
Unfortunately, one thing I noticed all through the trip was fallen trailers, the mishap drivers endure as the long vehicle tumbles is barely imaginable. Conveying different sort of materials and items, a lot of them leave a disheartening sight. It could be because of the deplorable state of roads in Nigeria, the drivers also have their share, some of them overspeed.
It’s not only drivers that are careless, government also have their fair share of the blame. For instance, the driver’s going 120mph on a long stretch of smooth road only to be suddenly welcomed by a series of bumps at the end. If he’s not mindful enough, it could be tragic. – angry Lagosian
The vehicles also lack maintenance sometimes and are in bad shape to convey the sort of cargo at such distance.
#Tip 7: Drive slowly and carefully during rainfall, adjust speed based on road conditions.
Hours passed, I knew we arrived Osun State when I heard traders chanting “Dodo Ikire“, I was famished so I had some. The 3-hour journey took more than 5, I got home later that evening!
Travelling during the rainy season in Nigeria means there could be floods, slippery road conditions and traffic accidents which will slow things down. Don’t be in a rush, drive carefully.
In summary, I can say this voyage asides been discomforting and entertaining at the same time was an “eye opener” for me. Let me just chip this in, it’s a little disheartening when officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (police, army, frsc etc.) ask for bribe, this is not something to be proud of, it only causes delay.
Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life. Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet. Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain.
Don’t forget to drive safely on wet roads and caution drivers whenever you’re not in charge.
Had any rainy day trip? I’m sure it makes a great story to tell, share with me in the comments below.