Sometimes people say driving is therapy. Hitting open roads, cruising down the highway, chill music on your radio, Bae sitting shotgun… Total bliss right?
Yes, but not when everyone is trying to go everywhere in Nairobi.
Here’s 10 things you need to know about driving in Nairobi.
1. It is not for the faint hearted.
If you are one of those people who follow rules to the latter, gets into no trouble, and you drive in Nairobi, you are a champ! One thing you will also need is patience, a louder sounding horn and a stress ball in your car because you will always encounter situations that will test your ability to bend the rules… Just a little.
2. Traffic is always a thing!
I mean come on! Why does it take 2 hours to cover a distance you would normally take 20 minutes? Just why?
Roads literally become parking lots! You switch off your car, read a book, get too engrossed in the book that you even forget you were in traffic and finally when it starts moving, you only move AN INCH, and the cycle repeats itself till you get to your destination.
What is life???
3. Courtesy ni wewe!😤
For those of you who went to driving school, you never forget the concept behind “Right of way” but you also never see the implementation of it on our roads!
Some drivers use roads so badly you find yourself yelling at them so loud like they’ll even hear you. Overtaking from the left is so annoying! Nduthi guys are a menace at a roundabout, you can loose your bumper to a Bajaj guy just like that! (And you are lucky if he doesn’t make it to run off)
Road rage is a thing you will always have.
Don’t even get me started on Matatus… Argh!
4. Matatus though!
Here’s the thing, being in a ma3 will get you there really fast which feels goods considering the crazy traffic situation. Now, being the one getting cut off, scratched, overtaken from the left, hooted at unnecessarily, and even insulted like “Hawa watu wa personal wanakuwanga na ujinga sana!” does not feel good at all.
Worst place to be battling for space on the road with matatus is in the heart of Nairobi. The CBD (Central Business District) Total Drama!
It is now safe to say matatu drivers have another special level in their driving school course.
5. The roads are just…
Terrible! Bad! Dramatic!
Potholes can make up a whole stretch of road. This spoils your car, wastes your time, makes you angry a.f but that is just half the story. If and when you are lucky to have the road fixed, it will just be patching. A road is only properly fixed when the President has a tour to that particular area. That’s the only reason Ole Sangale Road next to Strathmore University was fixed. There was even a Twitter hashtag #WhatIsARoad trending at some point. That’s when you know it is a serious issue!
6. It gets intimidating too. 💔
So you are busy minding your own business on your way to work in your motie then a guzzler cuts you off, you chill and let it go, another one, another one, another one, another one (you can make a Dj Khaled mixtape) and each time you say it, you get angry and feel less of a road user because of the size of your car 😢😢😢
Sometimes you even give way to your “Dream car” just because you wanna watch it drive past you. Then the driver doesn’t even say Thank You or wave, or even a thumbs up… NOTHING!
7. Cops 👮
Traffic cops will help ease up traffic on our roads sometime but most of the time, they are sitting under a tree waiting for their next catch. And when they get ahold of your driver’s licence, your day is done! You can easily miss a “No right turn” sign because it was set up a few hours ago. I once said “Afande, iyo sign haikuwa hapo jana, nisamehee” but this was not enough!
Even when you’re on the right side of the law, these dudes will find something against you… “Why are you driving in sandals?” , “Why is your AC on in this cold weather?” , “Mbona unaniita afande?” , “Mbona kuna viatu za mwanamke kwa boot?” , “Unajua kwa nini nimekusimamisha?”
Again, patience is needed. A lot of it too.
8. At night… 🌃🌛
Extra caution should be taken while driving in Nairobi at night. That’s all I can say.
9. When it rains… ☔
Absolute confusion strikes the moment it starts pouring. Everyone is literally rushing home which means everyone will meet on major highways… Traffic, wet, slippery traffic!
10. It takes some getting used to.
With all these in mind, driving in Nairobi is crazy but somehow you just get used to all that happens on our roads. All you need to do is be safe and considerate of other road users.
And yes, it is really theraputic to drive around Nairobi at 2 a.m. in the morning. Bright lights, city views, no traffic, no cops and no destination.
What are your driving experiences in the 254 🇰🇪 ?