The Kenyan Driving Experience…

When I think of some of the pointless things I’ve done in life, I’m tempted to think driving school is one of them. Why? No one in Kenya follows the rules. I admit, I’m not the greatest driver out there, I won’t speed, I don’t always park on my first try and have issues reversing every now and then, however, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Why my anger towards Kenya? Below is a list of foibles peculiar to the Kenyan driving experience:

  • Overlapping – Do you think you are God’s greatest gift to mankind, really? You wake up late, and proceed to delay *all* the other people who had the sense to wake up earlier than you. The worst bit about it is that overlappers increase risk for both themselves and other drivers and make the traffic situation *worse*, never better. And what do other brainy overlappers do? Follow suite.
  • Drunk Driving – All manners of campaigns have been done on this one, however, if you are inebriated and insist on driving yours is a special kind of silly. I recently lost part of my boot to one such driver, on a Sunday afternoon (as right).

    My poor child :)
    My vehicle, shortly after being mutilated (yes, I insist) by a drunk driver...
  • “Bullying/General lack of courtesy” – A colleague once said, a Kenyan is the only person who hoots at you while he is on the wrong e.g. he’s overlapping, you refuse to give him way, he hoots and shouts at you. Forcing your way to the road, changing lanes carelessly, basically, being a troglodyte with a car.
  • What our little ones see

    Wrong Lanes in Roundabouts – This picks a little from the above point. The Kenyan takes the wrong lane, starts forcing his way into the right lane, hooting and threatening accidents left right and centre.

  • Overtaking carelessly – Anyone who has driven on a Kenyan road will attest to this. A friend mentioned that good overtaking should not cause any change in another driver i.e. the oncoming car should not brake, nor should the car being overtaken have to break. However, in Kenya, the typical thing is either – flash your lights and hoot on oncoming traffic to slow down for you to overtake/hoot, attempt to drive into the vehicle you are overtaking, hoping to force them to brake to allow you to pass. Thing is, if your car does not have adequate peak, or there is no clear path for overtaking safely, and you insist on doing so, you can only be described as a cretin.
  • Anger for no reason – Have you ever been at a fourway junction, with full visibility, and no opportunity to cross, while people behind you try to overlap and keep hooting? They can’t see, but insist on forcing you through. If you are hit, they will simply drive around you and laugh. Worse still are those who insist on hooting when you extend basic courtesy to someone else. People use their lights, car horns for all the wrong reasons, such that, when there is a crisis, we generally tend to ignore them.
  • Our Police – They are second only to crazy drivers in causing traffic. Worse still is that they see road accidents involving drunks as enriching opportunities and don’t actually arrest them, making our roads ever the more unsafe.
  • Kibaki, Raila, Kalonzo – We have choppers, WTH???!!!
  • Driving with full lights  while there is oncoming traffic- It’s not only unsafe, it’s also terribly short sighted, a driver can ram into you in that state of temporary blindness. There is always someone with brighter lights, be courteous.
  • Matatu’s No comment.

I don’t claim to be the best driver, I’m still learning, everyday, however, I believe basic courtesy will greatly improve both the driving experience and safety of our roads. Oh, visit this page for defensive driving 101 tips.