Surviving Lagos Roads: Tips to Drive safe on the streets of Lagos

Even though driving is a universal skill and one which all must possess at a certain age, driving in Lagos requires special skills; one that only ‘Lagosians’ possess. To keep safe while driving in Lagos, there are some unspoken rules/facts you need to be constantly conscious of.

You’re the only normal person.

Your first mistake will be to assume all the other drivers on the road are as sane as you. Yes, they know how to drive as driving is a universal skill but this is Lagos, Nigeria “everybody get hin own for body”, some people are really angry and don’t mind projecting their feelings towards you and your car. So for no reason, just be empathetic and cautious while driving. That being said, it’ll be better for you to assume you’re the only normal person driving on the road if you don’t want ‘wahala’.

Don’t do “Mtchew” for Mopol

This is apparently the easiest way to loose your car and dash government money in Lagos. “The officials are right” know this and know peace. You can be faulted for the most unreasonable things if you keep throwing words at them. Also, always make sure to be with your vehicle papers. Arguing with road officials while you’re in a hurry and angry will only make you say the wrong things and get everybody riled up and if by chance you you’re carrying around expired papers, go to and renew your papers. You sha know as e dey go for this side (you’re not new to this). If you argue too much and they decide to sit on your case, na station o. Get your car papers renew and up-to-date and follow traffic rules abeg.

Make way for the ‘Kings’ of the Road

They say many are mad but few are roaming the streets. I’m sure the people that came up with that saying came to Lagos for the first time and saw danfo drivers because (tears emoji). Well, I don’t think a lot needs to be said here just do well to stay away from the yellow buses while driving it’s for your own good. If they bash you, they will still argue and threaten you on top of the matter. Some will be polite and beg, but ‘las las’ you’re the one that will fix your car because theirs is pure metal and a few knocks with the hammer is all they need after a bash. To straighten their buses.

Okada Riders

These ones definitely have extra lives at home. They seem to all have a pact with suicide, but they’re a necessary evil as they’re the only options sometimes when you need to get somewhere on time and Lagos traffic is doing the most. Whatever you do, if you know death is not in your own pouch like Fela (see what I did there? 😉) avoid these lot.

Hide everything, apart from yourself!

Yes, merchants sell any and everything in Lagos traffic but some are out to steal your stuff. This is a common scenario, you put your phones carelessly on your car seat right beside you and your glasses is wound down, a thief distracts you by engaging you on the drivers side and the other picks your phone from the other side of the car. Heck, some even break car glasses to steal stuff, right inside traffic. Simple, keep any shiny stuff on the car floor, under your seat or safely in a bag! Don’t say we didn’t tell you, make e no shock you o.

Don’t get too close and don’t be too far

In Lagos, anything can happen. It can be calm as morning one minute and crazy as storm the next minute. It is important to leave enough space between your vehicle and the one before you in case the inevitable happens and the only option is to japa. “Won ni kawa mo corner o”

Fear Trailers/Tankers

You should always be particularly conscious of these ones. There should always be distance between you and the big trucks. The drivers could get a bit too confident and begin to feel a little more superior to the other vehicles and even sometimes take ownership of the roads because of the size of their vehicles. If you’re overtaking, do so and move far away immediately especially on curved roads. Too many accidents have been caused by these big trucks and tankers.

Renewing your car papers and getting your road worthiness certificate also helps to keep you and others safe while driving. You can get these documents on

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