When I was in primary school, they had just completed the painting of several Zebra crossings along Allen Avenue and Opebi areas. Our mum was driving us on that particular day when we approached one of the newly painted Zebra crossings and then she told us … and I can never forget
“If you walk on the Zebra crossing, cars will automatically stop for you.”
Well several months after that, the driver or our parents forgot to pick us up from school (St. Leo Catholic School), so we had to walk all the way from Toyin Street to Adeniyi Jones, needless to say no cars stopped for us at the Zebra crossings. It was like the Zebra crossings were invisible. In fact it seemed like cars moved faster in the Zebra crossing zones. Except that you happen to be a Zebra … then they will stop!
But it is not that we have bad drivers, we just are not trained drivers.
People often say that if you can drive in Nigeria you can drive anywhere in the world … “huh” is my reaction … because, actually if you can drive in Nigeria, chances are that you can’t really drive anywhere else. Because other places have rules, and without an understanding of the rules you can’t drive there.
But it is not all our fault…the government has a hand.
They (the government) wake up one morning and paint lines on the road put up signs left right and center, sometimes the signs vary from local government to local government depending on who got the contract. Its like a hodgepodge of road paint. Some roads have lanes, others don’t have lanes. And soon people are ignoring the rules not because they want to but because the implementation is inconsistent and confusing.
Now back to the Zebra crossings…
The reason Nigerian drivers will only stop for Zebra’s is because there is no adequate training. And the people meant to implement this training (traffic wardens) are clueless most of the time except when there is a financial benefit. If the traffic wardens understand that their role is not to prey on drivers mistakes but rather to educate and teach drivers, we might see some change.
But for now and to be safe … dress like a Zebra before you cross!