Thursday, September 10, 2009

Road Rage--Nigerian Style

In my two-month absence from Nigeria, I really believe that traffic in Jos increased. Or was it just that driving in the U.S. was so pleasant compared to here?

A couple weeks ago I was driving down a very narrow dual carriageway. Because of how cars were parked, I swerved a bit into the left lane which made the taxi driver coming up behind me very angry. He let loose a string of curses in Hausa. Thankfully I don't know exactly what he said, but his anger sure was evident.

Last week I was trying to get to the bulk foods market. I made three attempts to get into that area of town, but eventually abandoned the idea as the traffic was just horrendous. Since I didn't want to get stuck in a traffic jam, I took another turn and tried to get out of the way. Somehow another car and I 'brushed' each other on the very narrow dual carriageway. It surprised me enough that I slammed on my brakes. That made the motorcycle behind me bounce off my bumper. I hastily checked my rearview mirror and saw that no one was too upset, so I didn't stop. Besides, in Nigeria, the person at the rear is always at fault. The whole thing shook me up a bit, and I decided to get out of that part of town. I haven't yet attempted it a second time. I think I'll go with a driver the next time.

Last night when Bayo came home, he said, "My arm hurts," and then proceeded to relate what had happened. He was making a right turn and had his blinker on. A motorcycle was trying to overtake him at that moment. Thankfully they did not collide, but the biker sure was angry. While Bayo was turning around in the dead-end, the biker got off his bike and came around to Bayo's window and gave him a hard punch in the upper arm. Thankfully Bayo is able to keep his cool in these situations and did not retaliate.

Actually, to put things in perspective, driving in Jos is really not that bad compared to driving in the teeming, coastal city of Lagos, Nigeria, which boasts a population of 12 million. People from Lagos would laugh at me for complaining about traffic in Jos. I guess it just depends on what you're used to.

2 comments:

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

In Uganda, we all agreed that we could never drive there. The traffic is nuts, in large part because there are pot holes everywhere, and rather than going slowly, the drivers go around them, regardless of which lane they cross into. And they pass on the up hills.

Interestingly, I was reading a blog about an American guy who was getting his Masters degree at the U in Kampala. His group took a trip to Rwanda. He said that as soon as they crossed the border, he noticed that the drivers behaved in a sane manner, obeying the laws, etc. Such a contrast!

conniez said...

I can totally picture what you are talking about but most people wouldn't think about a road as a dual carageway is:)