For Lagosians however, driving is a different ball game entirely. It’s hard enough that the Mega-city is the smallest state in Nigeria, it is also the most populated in the country. Driving isn’t easy for residents because of the intensity of traffic congestion.
“the average commuter in Lagos spends over three hours in traffic every day” – statistics
It’s certainly a huge task for more than 21 million people to commute in a city that doesn’t have other transport alternatives except BRTs, Danfo, Taxi, Okada and Keke Napep. The water bodies that surround the city are underutilised.
Private transportation companies such as Uber, Taxify and Oga Taxi are great for commuting, however, they cannot escape gridlocks at certain times of the day.
It’s a common saying that drivers in Lagos can drive anywhere in the world, this is very true but before you grab the steering wheel here is everything you must know about driving in the metropolis.
#1 BE CAUTIOUS
Keep your eyes on the road at all times, eschew any form of dangers and be very careful with Okada and Keke Napep, they can pop up anywhere.
If you’re driving in residential areas it’s not uncommon to see kids running into the streets, watch out for them.
I recently observed a gentle man in his Toyota Camry overtaking a commercial bus. Unknown to him, a toddler wandered into the street.
Luckily, he stepped on brake and saved the toddler’s life.
#2 EXERCISE PATIENCE
While driving on the streets of Lagos, a bunch of actions by road users can extend your time in traffic.
You’ll encounter reckless drivers, Danfo illegally stationed to pick passengers , Okada and Keke Napep maneuvering through traffic and lousy pedestrians.
“In Lagos, there aren’t really lanes, but rather a mass of vehicles moving in a general direction. Road signals are not noticed and horns are pressed constantly.”
Be calm and composed while in traffic, some gridlocks could last for hours but this shouldn’t get you worked up at all. Better late than never.
#3 REFRAIN FROM ROAD RAGE
It’s not uncommon to see road users hurling insults at each other. This can appear strange at first but after driving long enough in Lagos it won’t matter anymore.
Whenever most drivers ram into each other’s vehicle, they take laws into their hands instead of maturely resolving issues, they park on highways and cause traffic delay like it’s their house.
Fun Fact: Lagos state is ranked as one of the worst places to drive in the world, shortly after India.
In a nutshell, no matter your level of confidence when driving, always handle your anger issues and avoid whatever can make you flare up.
Driving in Lagos is a big deal! If you’re in a bad mood don’t bother hitting the road.
#4 LOCK ALL DOORS
I was amazed when I read an article by a foreigner, she found it strange that Lagosians formed the habit of locking doors all the time. Apparently, none of that happens in her country.
There have been multiple cases of persons breaking into vehicles to acquire bags or other items, keep them out of sight preferably in the luggage compartment or floorspace.
In extreme cases, the driver is distracted by someone while an accomplice steals his belongings. This happened to a friend of mine so if you’re in busy areas don’t only lock doors, close the windows too.
#5 AVOID TRAILERS AND LONG VEHICLES
As little as this advice may sound it’s best to certainly stay away from trucks, trailers and long vehicles. A number of tanker explosions and container accidents are reported yearly in Lagos.
The popularity of heavy-duty vehicles on highways is not far fetched, there are many ports in Lasgidi and when cargo arrive in ships, they are transported to their owners or consumers by road.
Trailers and long vehicles can topple or spill their goods, they also roll back in some instances. Many of them are permanently parked on bridges and highways, this causes overbearing traffic and accidents.
To safeguard your life and vehicle steer clear of long vehicles to evade hazardous outcomes.
#6 ALWAYS KEEP MOVING
Driving in Lagos is an adventure on it’s own. You may spot vehicles with dents and broken parts even in high brow areas, don’t be alarmed, they’re usually signs of struggle through traffic.
Learn to interpret the road signs and traffic patterns and respond according to your own course and destination, not someone else’s. – excerpt from T. D. Jake’s Reposition yourself
Fun Fact: Identifying road signs and implementing them can make your journeys very soothing.
The highly populated Mega-city is ravaged with reckless commercial motorists from Danfo, Keke Napep, Taxi, not to talk of Okada. Mind your business, remain focused and you should be safe.
THE SUM UP
Will driving conditions in Lagos state improve?
At this rate, I’m afraid not. The present road congestion in relation to emerging population is very understandable. While this poses a threat, it can be curbed by exploring other transport options.
In an ideal world, a metro or rail system might alleviate the traffic delays. Lagos state government has to invest in rails to transport heavy-duty cargo and improve safety standards of long vehicles.
Also, acquisition of ferries should easily convey people and goods around the city. In the meantime, cool your nerves and put your pedal to the metal.
Have you ever driven in the city of Lagos?
If your answer’s yes please share your story in the comments below.
Thanks and have a great week!