How to cope with Traffic on Third Mainland Bridge

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Mindfullness_angry_driverDear motorists of 3RDMB,

When I see you in traffic every evening during the week I see the frustration in your faces. I see the hurt in your bloodshot eyes (from staring too long at brake lights). I feel the pain in your arms (from latching unto your steering wheels for 2 hours). It’s insane to say the least. On 3RDMB rush hour in the morning is between 5.45 and 10am while in the evening it’s typically between 6.30 and 9.30 pm. After 7 years of being a victim of locomotion (loco as in ‘crazy’ in Spanish) and getting high on ‘secondhand exhaust fumes’ I believe at this point it is my civil duty to share how you can cope with the menace that is the traffic on 3RDMB:

Rule 1: Wise up

I hate unpleasant surprises; 3RDMB being in my top 3. That’s why I log in to GIDITRAFFIC, TSABOIN TRAFFIC TALK and TRAFFICBUTTER APP on Twitter for the latest updates on all my routes out of the Mad Arena more commonly known as the Marina. These info sources are a Godsend if you have access to the Internet and want online real-time news about the state of traffic on all major Lagos routes. If you’re more of the radio listening type you can tune in to 96.1 Traffic FM and get the scoop there. Even if all your other alternative routes are experiencing traffic at least you’ll know which one has that broken down trailer blocking two-thirds of the three-lane road!!! Don’t drive off without getting your traffic information right or you’ll be singing ‘Bumper to bumper’ @wandecoal

Rule 2: Snack up

If you’re driving a brand new car and your rule of thumb is never to eat in it then think again. Motorists would agree that by the time you’re motionless on 3RDMB at about 9.30pm and you start nodding off to sleep on the wheel, you’re gonna need more than your stereo to keep you awake. But help is on the bridge. They roam the tarmac with multiple bags of popcorn, cartons of plantain chips and other munchies. I call these heroes Teenage Hell-bent Ninja Hawkers. Have you seen them run after motorists to make that sale? Usain Bolt aint got nothing on these guys and I say that boldly because he’s not running between the narrow spaces of moving trucks and danfo buses. If you haven’t noticed them by now then they’re better ninjas than I thought. The first set of hawkers when you get close to the UniLag waterfront section of 3RDMB sell Popcorn. A few 100 metres down the bridge you begin to see plantain chips and the occasional coconut chips and chin-chin. If you still haven’t made up your mind about what snack you want after this point then get ready for…(drumroll)…Rat poison. I still don’t get the connection and I’ve debated this severally with my passengers. Why have snacks, drinks and rat poison sold in that order? Don’t ask me. Ask the Teenage Hell-bent Ninja Hawkers. I’m yet to see a rat invasion at the end of 3RDMB so for now I ain’t buying.

Rule 3: Wind up

Last but not least, switch on that air conditioning and wind up your windows. Why? Because this is Lagos where open car windows are an invitation to robbery attacks. Some of the hawkers I mentioned earlier are informants and robbers in disguise. That said, keep your windows low enough to let your snack have easy access into your car and then wind up immediately you’ve paid the hawker. This is no time to be a cheapskate with your fuel consumption. ‘Ember’ months are in and the armed robbers are out. So unless you’ve got a car with external gadgets to apprehend or maim your attackers, EVERYBODY’S WINDOWS GO UP!….AND THEY STAY THERE! AND THEY STAY THERE! AND THEY STAY THERE! NOT DOWN, NOT DOWN, NOT DOWN or all you do is SCREAM, SCREAM, SCREAM lol.

Even as I type this article on this fine Saturday I’m already dreading 3RDMB blues which set in round about 5pm every week day. Well, it is what it is. Remember, Wise up, Snack up and Wind up.

Till Monday when I see you on the bridge, this is the Crazy Nigerian zooming off!

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Like a bridge under troubled motorists

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This gallery contains 2 photos.

It seems like it was all a dream when Third Mainland Bridge was partially closed for urgent repairs for over a month (the tremors were becoming worrisome), thereby disrupting the regular movement of motorists commuting between Lagos mainland and Lagos … Continue reading

How I increased traffic on my blog (Part I)

I woke up this morning and decided to attend the 7 o’clock service at my local Anglican church. There the Vicar explained the essence of Boxing Day – a tradition celebrated on December 26th whereby excess gifts (including food) are ‘boxed’ and sent to people in need. In a similar vein I published this post as a gift to readers who would like to see a significant rise in the number of visitors to their blogs/websites.

I have come across various tips from numerous sites on the Internet, including WordPress. However, I will only highlight tips that have worked for me on my blog, The Crazy Nigerian.

 

1. Write about a popular ‘niche’ topic

Last week I was pleasantly shocked to discover that my blog had received 352 views – the highest number of views ever on this blog in one day. There was widespread talk and forwarded text messages about vacancies at a giant Telecom company in Nigeria – Airtel. However there was also controversy about the authenticity of a particular website being used for submitting job applications. What did I do? I wrote about it. 

 

The results not only showed that there is a high level of job seekers but also that the topic is of significant interest to a niche of people. Writing about a popular topic and writing about a popular ‘niche’ topic are two different things. Popular topics are published by a greater proportion of writers and so your post/article is less likely to appear in a top 10 search on Google. When writing a popular ‘niche’ topic on the other hand consider the following:

  • Using a catchy title for your article/pos (consisting of keywords likely to be used in search engines)
  • Including relevant links in your articles/content that would give the reader further information
  • Writing about the topic while it is still generating public interest
  • Prior research in order to provide a relatively holistic view on the topic

Entry #8 – Monday Moan

I hate road traffic on Monday mornings, I hate Sunday evenings because I’m thinking about Monday, I hate Monday Meetings, I think Monday used to be called Moanday or perhaps even Mournday, I hate Monday because I carry over things from last Monday, I hate that after Church on Sunday the first sin I commit is usually on, wait for it, MONDAY!!! I hate that I can never choose to fall sick on a Monday. I don’t want my birthday to ever fall on a Monday. I do not plan to marry on Monday, yes i think it’s safe to say that I HATE MONDAYS!!!!!

Now where did I put my Monday medication… 😮

Entry #7 – The only time I love the word ‘Traffic’

…It’s not when I’m all exhausted after work miles away from home whilst listening to endless reruns of my Kanye West album (Late Registration) in my car, which by the way is crawling along the road like a caterpillar with arthritis, and the side attractions are a few broke down trailers, ad-hoc police check points and impatient motorists trying to make 3 street lanes into 6 so that nobody moves properly. Is this the traffic I love? Nosireeeee! I love the kind that is electronic, virtually invisible, and keeps you smiling the more it accumulates…

Of course I’m talking about blog-traffic! I have been marvelling at how the number of hits on my website increased from zero on February 21st (when I conceived my blog) to 300 on 1st March! I smile each time I see the figures go up on my Blog stats and I like knowing what articles got the most views/clicks. Comments so far are still few (two, actually) but I’m optimistic about the future. I’ll set myself a goal now – 1000hits before March 31st. Possible? I wonder…

~Safety: On the road

Whilst you move around on the Nigerian roads you need to be cautious about your surroundings. It is unfortunate that there are touts who like to parade around high-traffic areas where road congestion is frequent. If you are in a car, albeit the driver or passenger, ensure that you lock your car doors before you set off for your journey, and every time you get back into the car during the day. There have been past reports of hoodlums attempting to open car doors and carrying out robberies.

 

Always keep your windows wound up closed. I have a friend who kept her window only 2- inches down in a traffic-jam at night, when suddenly a thief forced his arm through the space and snatched her necklace. Endeavour to use the AC (Air Conditioning) in order to seal up your car as much as possible.

 

At night, do not follow shortcuts or ‘back routes’ which are hidden away from the general public. These could be potential hideout spots for rogues and armed-robbers. Only use such shortcuts in the daytime or when there are other cars using it when you are, preferably before dark.

 

As much as possible stay in your car at all times until you get to your destination – sounds easy enough, right? What if one night on the road you spotted a broken down vehicle up ahead with a woman seeming stranded and you decided to be a Good Samaritan? There have been cases of staged breakdowns used as an ambush for well-to-do motorists. Nowadays the LASTMA force is on stand by on major roads to assist or tow such broken down vehicles. I am not saying we shouldn’t come to the aid of stranded motorists. It could happen to you too but this is what I’d expect you to do:

 

Call for a friend’s assistance using your mobile phone (which is a must in case of emergencies) and if he/she is on his/her way then you lock yourself up in the car and sit tight till the cavalry arrive. Alternatively you can lock up the car and, so long as you’ve parked well off the road, take public transport to get assistance. Be careful when being approached by eager pedestrians who suddenly appear from nowhere to help. Keep your valuables (wallet, purse, watch, etc) in your glove compartment and lock your car up first. If you see that where you’re stranded has human-traffic then you shouldn’t have much to worry about. Never find yourself out late, alone and without a (fully-charged) mobile phone – ‘tis a deadly medley.

Entry #3 – Moment of madness

Yesterday I dont know what came over me. I was driving back from work late about 8pm when this massive commercial bus started blaring its horn behind me. There was no room in front of me, I wasn’t slowing down, and I sure as hell wasn’t stopping the driver from overtaking me. This nuisance continued for a good 5mins. I was getting attention I did not want. I felt humiliated. I felt like every other driver was laughing at me. I had enough…

I swerved off the middle lane and stayed on the lefthand side, allowing the impatient bufoon to pass by – and that’s when my MOM (Moment Of Madness) paid an unexpected visit. I swerved back into the middle lane behind the bus and guess what I did next 😀

BEEP! BEEP! BEEEEEEP! BEP BEP BEEEEEEEEEEP….BEEP….BEEP….BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The bus driver started attempting to get off the lane. I started chasing him – I don’t know what the hell for though. Other drivers were grinning as I beeped a ‘happy-birthday-to-you’ sounding tune – I had to stop halfway though cos I realized I could have been endangering the passengers on the bus, not to mention, myself!

This isn’t me, I thought. I was a victim of road rage and this time I took it a lil too far. Note to self – no more Red bulls before driving…even if it was intended to stop me from dozing off in traffic.

Letter to the Nigerian President

Dear Mr. President,

I know you are bogged down with a lot of political and socio-economic issues at the moment, the least of which you are yet to find solutions for or even attempt to show any interest in solving (e.g. Lack of constant power supply, daily traffic congestion, armed robbery, etc). However, I have some questions that need answering and though they may seem trivial to you they mean a lot to me…

What happened to Green Sands shandy? And what happened to Fanta Chapman? Could you bring back Tandi Guarana and Dr Pepper? Could you also tell the brewers of ’33’ export lager beer to change the freaking name to something other than a number? It would make ordering at the bar a whole lot easier when I’m pissed (half drunk). In fact, could you also put an embargo on any further name changes made by ‘Zain’ telecommunications? They’ve gone from Econet-VMobile-Celtel-Zain in less than 5 years and its getting confusing.

Is Ajinomoto really not good for my cooking? Could you intervene in the Mob wars between the rival Noodle gangs on my car radio? Indomie, Mimi and O-noodles have 1 ad every other 10 minutes 24/7 and it’s driving me insane! Is Agege bread really that soft and if so would you endorse it? I ‘form’ (pose, act-up) a lot so when I eat Agege bread sometimes at work I need assurance that I’m not going below a certain standard of class.

Could you ban unsolicited motorcyclists aka OKADA riders? They have swarmed our roads and have become a public nuisance with their complete disregard for the highway code. And while you’re at it, could you please abolish Saturday banking? I cherish my weekends and I strongly believe that 7.30am to 5.30pm from Mon-Fri is sufficient punishment in this present economy.

I know this is a long shot but would you consider giving tax-rebates and/or relief like they do in the UK? I see a lot of taking going on but giving back something to me for my blood and sweat would be nice. This is not ‘awoof’, just look at it more like a discount on my taxes.

While I’m on the subject of giving back to the community, could you allow the national budget to include training art schools for our terribly amateur actors? The Nigerian movie industry, unlike our developing economy, is under-developed. We are yet to see home-grown movies worthy to be called blockbusters e.g. movies like Lord of The Rings, Titanic, T2 and even The Dark Knight could one day be done over here if you invest accordingly – After all, like the saying goes ‘3rd mainland bridge wasn’t built in a day’.

I hope you will find time to answer these pressing issues. I do not mind if you let the VP handle some of these questions as I strongly believe he is equally capable. I look forward to hearing from you fairly soon.
Yours sincerely,

 

..xTx..