By Mayowa Owoeye
1. When in doubt, accelerate!
2. Be prepared to ram anyone (or anything) that tries to stop you, particularly the ones dressed in uniform.
3. If you're flagged down by road safety officials and you have no choice but to stop, do not allow them into your car. If they happen to get in, get out of the stream of traffic and park. Next, pretend you're calling your uncle who is in the army. That always works. And whatever you do, do not follow them to any sort of office except you are ready to pay ten times more than whatever is the supposed fine for your so-called offence.
4. Never give police or Vehicle Inspection Officers your original car papers (whether expired or up to date).
5. Danfo drivers believe they are immortal. Never yield to the temptation to teach them otherwise.
6. Okada riders have a death wish, avoid them like the plague.
7. Avoid BTR and LAG buses, their brakes cannot be trusted.
8. Taxi cabs should always have the right of way, all of them have been driving in Lagos for over twenty-five years.
9. Never, ever, stop to pick up a pedestrian unless he flings himself under the wheels of your car.
10. The first empty parking space you find is the the last empty parking space you will find. Take it!
11. Learn to swerve abruptly. In Lagos, potholes (and sometimes 'car holes') are put in key locations to test drivers’ reflexes and their cars' shock absorbers. For some perspective, I saw one man fishing in one of the potholes last week.
12. There is no such thing as a one-way street in Lagos. Expect traffic from any direction at all times. The okada riders are experts at coming from the wrong direction when you least expect.
13. Never get in the way of a car that needs extensive bodywork, except you want to spend your whole Saturday at the panel beater’s place.
14. Morning rush hour is equivalent to a grand prix. Whoever gets to the junction first wins.
15. There is no such thing as a shortcut during rush hour traffic in Lagos. Everybody might be inclined to take that 'shortcut'.
16. When asking for directions, always ask at least three people. Lagosians always claim to know every inch of the city, even areas they’ve never been to.
17. Use extreme caution when pulling into service lanes. Service lanes are not for breaking down the traffic, but for speeding, especially during rush hour.
18. Never use directional signals, since they only confound and distract other Lagos drivers, who are not used to them.
19. Similarly, never attempt to give hand signals. Lagos drivers, unused to such courtesies, will think you are making obscene gestures to them. This could end badly for you.
20. Hazard lights (popularly called 'double pointer') are not used to indicate a hazard. They are used by self-acclaimed professional Lagos drivers to warn ypy warning to you that they are headed 'straight' and as such, will not stop under any circumstance. Take these drivers very seriously especially if they back up the flashing hazard lights with repeated honking (it's called 'horning' here, by the way).
21. At any given time, do not stand on a zebra crossing expecting traffic to yield to you. Unless you're an actual zebra, Lagos drivers will show you no mercy.
22. Speed limits are arbitrary figures posted only to make you feel guilty.
23. Remember that the goal of every driver in Lagos is to get to their destination as quickly as they can by any means necessary. Thuggishness should be expected.
24. In Lagos every spot is a potential bus stop. Eben road safety officers know that. It's probably in their constitutions and handbooks.
25. Most importantly, keep moving. Even with a flat tyre. DOn't you dare stop for anything.