The matatu mafia has turned driving on Kenyan roads into a self defense skill. A driver’s license does not equip you to adequately deal with the mayhem on urban roads. Time to brush up your skills.
A driving license is only the beginning of a history of near misses, blaring horns, matatu drivers, rush hour bottlenecks, traffic cops, and looming carjackers. The countless road signs that you were forced to memorise by heart will be of little use . I have therefore taken it upon myself to correct this terrible oversight and impart motoring secrets that are requirement for anyone driving on Kenyan roads.
- One thing you quickly discover is that all the road signs they forced you to memorise are nowhere to be found. However if it is suddenly brought to your attention by a stream of cars honking at you from the opposite direction, that you are driving on the wrong way on a one-way street, reverse until you find a spot to let the oncoming traffic squeeze past before continuing with the original course undeterred. If you keep your headlights on, oncoming motorists will assume you are running from the law and give you way.
- If you are unable to find a parking slot in the city, park on the road. As long as you are seated in the car, your newfound position is justified. Ignore the hooting and harsh words by a few enraged drivers. You are not the cause of their grief. They just venting out their frustrations and you are a soft target.
- It is important to remind slow moving pedestrians who cause delays by strolling across roads that cars may have faulty brakes. Since it is a lot quicker for the pedestrian to sprint across the road than for you to suddenly brake, flash your lights and press on the horn to remind them that you have no intention at stopping at the zebra crossing.
- Remember that the traffic policeman is always right. Take the lecture, pay the spot fine, and find an alternative route around the police roadblock.
- When SUV’s bully you for crawling up a hill continue on undeterred. They will never catch up with you downhill anyway.
- Pay attention to the traffic lights. Never ever stop at a red light at night unless you want to buy the next day’s newspaper.
- Remember that indicators are useless gadgets. Pop your head out of the window and point towards the direction you are headed. People will give you way.
- Learn to change lanes spontaneously especially when approaching a roundabout. No matter how well you plan your course some matatu will be on the wrong lane. The most important thing to remember about roundabouts and junctions is first in, first out. The sooner you get out of the mess, the better.
- Never give way if you do not have to. It is a maze out there and they are no medals for courtesy, just clogged traffic.
- Highways are great for street bargains. When the driver behind you honks because you are stalling traffic, point a finger to your head and twist it in manner to suggest that they must have a loose nut in theirs to pass up on a great bargain.
- If you sniff a whiff of rain, panic. Bolt for your car and drive into the nearest a traffic jam. There is safety in numbers.
- Now go out and stay alive.
Image source: kameme.co.ke