Some smart chap came up with a good set of rules about what you can and can’t do on the roads as a driver.
Yes, the memo seems to have made its way into Kenyan driving schools. But like a lot of the stuff learnt in the places we call school, it is promptly ditched by the roadside once we acquire driving licence.
The only time I truly saw someone driving carefully was during the driving test administered by a driving school instructor. And in fact, the road of choice for the driving test was a deserted, dusty road somewhere in Karen.
It is not until the poor fresh driving school graduate gets onto an actual road is when he/she realises that all those things he/she was taught were useless.
The practical world is a whole different kettle of fish, the poor trainee driver carefully drilled not to change lanes at the roundabout is stranded when the chap in front of him goes left and right before doing and about-turn in a different direction. The same poor chap was taught that indicators count for something when you are in the driver’s seat, until the rugged matatu driver proved to him that they are merely a bunch of fancy, colourful lights that serve little purpose, much like Christmas lights. Eventually this new driver familiarizes, as any living being is bound to in any given situation.
He quickly learns that in a place where everyone is insane, the sane one is actually the insane one, complicated I know. But look at it carefully, if no one is following the rules, the one who does is the odd one out, and the animal kingdom is unforgiving when you are the odd one out.
So a couple of dents and bruises on your poor car later, you become and inmate of the jungle that is Kenyan roads. Go onto any road today, or at peak time, and you will see a tiny car wedged in between roaring Eastlands matatus giving them a run for their money.
At times you see how Kenyans, who claim to have gone through driving school, drive on our road and you just wonder. At times you wish you had a whip so that each and every time someone drives badly, you whip him or her thoroughly. Why cant we have some decency on our roads?