Good Driving, Lagos’ Infamous Myth
Screeching through traffic at break neck speed, only pausing hesitantly for a traffic light turned amber, the driver tore through the tarmac switching lanes abruptly and braking carelessly.
No, I’ve not just described a scene from any of the Fast and Furious movies nor a stage in Playstation’s famous Grand Theft Auto video game, this is a casual Monday on the streets of Nigeria’s busiest city – Lagos and this scene is more the norm than the exception to the norm. Are Lagos’ drivers unhinged by the effects of the full moon or are they just bad?
A recent survey conducted by the Post, shows that 3 in 5 residents/drivers are completely oblivious of routine/simple road rules. Most just get behind the steering wheel and move. A report from the Federal Road Safety Corp shows that more than a third of road accidents and traffic offences were caused by more ignorance than carelessness. A lack of proper and effective licensing procedure for drivers in the state has reflected in less than road worthy experiences.
Interestingly, 6 out of 10 drivers in Lagos confirm that they learnt to drive from sources other than accredited schools. Most learned from parents, spouses, relatives and the frankly bizarre cases – Google/YouTube.
Another light survey affirms that Lagos residents are at their angriest while driving. This statistic corroborates some of the strangest displays of road rage on Lagos’ roads.
One would suppose that this characteristic is keeping in line with the size and magnitude of the state. Most global metropolitans do have their manic moments (NY and Moscow goodness!) but Lagos certainly takes a large helping of the mental cake due to issues already discussed.
The recent re-screening process for Lagos drivers sans a proper driving test, could be said to be a huge farce, due to the continued backdoor methods employed by a lot of people to obtain licenses without any tests. To be honest, trying to rid the state of a large percentage of bad driving, is going to be a logistic nightmare and almost certainly a statistical impossibility. Therefore enforcement of traffic basics and lessons aimed at educating drivers, is the sure fire fix for a problem that’s affecting the general state of the region’s traffic situation.
One more thing on the Governor’s to do list.