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February 18, 2019

A little road courtesy goes a long way

I love the rain, especially in our country. Tropical rain is beautiful and it tends to bring out my romantic side.

Besides turning our parched gardens green, the rain is also responsible for bringing city traffic to a standstill. I have no idea what goes on when it starts to rain but suddenly we are all up in arms. Most times we manage to cause some pretty impressive tailbacks on our highways.

Suddenly everyone wants to take diversions and shortcuts. We can blame Kidero, we can blame the rain; we can blame matatus; we can even drag in the traffic lights and the roundabouts to feel better about ourselves but no one will ever take responsibility for their own actions.

Kenyans demand road courtesy but do not know how to give it back. Everyone has the good intent of allowing traffic to move but no one wants that guy to come in from the slip road on the left because if you give way to one, at least 50 other cars behind this driver are going to want to pour out of that slip road as well.

You see, everyone’s journey is important. We wouldn’t be on the road just for the sake of it, especially here in Nairobi. So when we see government officials abusing the roads by overlapping or doing stunts to get ahead that they’re not supposed to, we get very frustrated. If they can do it, why can’t we? We sit there with frowns on our foreheads wondering why we even bother voting for these people, we mentally calculate how much of our salary goes into paying the salaries of these uncouth and manner-less people and crank up the volume on the radio because you resign yourself to not being able to do anything about it.

The matatus are just as terrible. While they are a boon to us who need to commute, they have no manners at all. We get shocked if we see a matatu driver behaving properly on the roads and take to social media to express our shock and delight. That’s how terrible the state of matatus on our roads is.

The rains are upon us and so are the frustrations of being stuck in rain. Roads will start flooding again due to bad drainage and pedestrians will be forced to walk on the roads to avoid slipping on the muddy paths that we call footpaths. Potholes the size of craters and lagoons will start popping up and we are going to be very frustrated on the roads.

Be kind to other road users and be courteous too. Think of it this way that even they are battling the same frustrations as you. Don’t be afraid to give someone way or slow down to let someone change their lane to avoid being swallowed up by a pothole.

Give credit where it’s due and allow change into the city to progress it further. We are all frustrated with the roundabouts closing but admit it, there are some journeys that have taken less than half the normal time and you’ve actually nodded your head in wonder and probably seen what our governor has been trying to achieve.

Slowly but surely we’ll get there. Whether we are in our cars or we are talking about the infrastructure of our city.

Have a traffic-free weekend!


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