And so, my obsession, with happenings on the road, continues (I did promise I would share a sequel to my last post).
These roads are a stage. And I can prove it. It’s a no-brainer really. We maintain our respective, usually instinctive idiosyncrasies on the road. How people drive says a loooooot more about them than we think. Check it out next time you’re on the road.
Cautious, meticulous people meander through traffic, honking at every junction, giving the brakes the ever familiar tap at the faintest provocation or in anticipation of a crazy driver or an imaginary close shave. They can spot the drunk driver or the life-threatening trailer from miles away.
Crazy drivers, on the other hand, are desperate to beat the traffic at all costs- the true definition of the Fast and Furious – pun intended. Woe betide you if you cross their path. My guess is, these choleric tendencies are an intricate ingredient in their character.
The most annoying set of drivers are the ones in the middle of the continuum – they aren’t going anywhere in particular and won’t let others get there!
But then, again, there’s a whole other group, whose character and habits on the road are as different as night and day. Will figure that bit out eventually.
So you see, our roads are a stage. The actors daily to play well scripted, repetitive skits. They show off their mannerisms, get into character behind the wheel and project at the top of their automobile lungs.
Case in point, Lagos drivers – reflections of the city’s endless hustle and struggles. Road rage is the order of the day. Drivers are mad at fellow drivers they don’t even know; most of us are mad at our fellow drivers first, before we remember to feel any other emotion. Everyone is trying to make their way, and out-smart (which in actual fact is ‘’out-stupid’’) the other person. It just gets me thinking, this is exactly how we are around here. We break all the rules in our bid to get ahead, reckless with a devil-may-care-attitude. When we think no one is looking, we beat the red light, we do a rather convenient but illegal U-Turn and we ride without so much as a backward glance.
I’ve had the chance to witness driving in a few other parts of the world and there is a clear difference in each location. All the polite request and acceptance, waiting-till-you-cross before- I-move and respect for traffic lights at 2am in the morning and other niceties were a little too much for me.
These are settings in which people are treated with respect, in which civility is the order of the day and order finds expression on the roads. Rules and guidelines are in place and all follow suit.
At the end of the day, the driving culture (pun intended) in a particular location is a reflection of its general mien. Quiet, sleepy towns, calm roads, no traffic, no congestions, no action. Cosmopolitan cities, chaos…you know the story.
My articles are never complete without a lesson to take home, lol. Today’s is simple. Take it easy on the road to anywhere…. home, success, results. Be kind (not witless) and considerate of others on the journey. Speed is allowed, when embraced with discretion, each of your vehicle’s controls has a specific function. Your driving can make the difference between life and death, literally and otherwise.
I rest my case, as a man or woman drives, so is he/ she. Needless to say, its been 11 years, I don’t particularly enjoy driving anymore.