Driving in this town is not a joy ride

By: Carol Beyanga

It’s been a while since I complained about some Ugandan road users. I suppose because I have been doing less driving, I have not been noticing the crazy maniacal things people do. Recently though, I got back behind the wheel a little more often and I think I can safely say, Ugandans do get worse at their driving every other month. Sometimes, I wonder how I was able to let go of my fears and drive a machine on our roads.

For starters, why can’t people keep their lane? It is true that some roads do not have markings but we basically know the roads that have two or three lanes. And yet there are those people who insist on driving in the middle of the road, for a stretch of five kilometres. You hoot so you can overtake, but they do not give way. You try and indicate to them to choose a lane but they do not do a thing about it. It is even worse when you are on the inner lane and yet they drive so close to you. They leave so much space on the other side and sidle close to your car. You cannot drive further inside or you will be hit by oncoming cars, so you decide to slow down so they can go ahead. “Maybe they want to join the lane I am in,” you think to yourself. But they don’t. They just stay in the middle of the road.

Another annoying lot are those who are drive leisurely on the highway. You try and stay behind them but 10 minutes later, you realise they will delay you at the pace they are going so you indicate to overtake. You step on the accelerator and move. It is at this point that the person, for whatever reason decides they do not want you ahead of them. So they too step on their accelerator and race forward, refusing you to overtake. What is up with that? No wonder people question the driving schools in this country!

Many drivers in this city are also mean. They do not want to allow a person join the lane from another road. They do not want to stop and let another branch off. They cannot be patient for 30 seconds to allow someone reverse into the road from the parking on the wayside.

They double park on the smallest of roads right in front of the supermarket they want to buy from, even though there is more than enough space just 50 metres ahead. They put full lights on, right from 6.45pm and do not budge even when you ask them to take them off.

Driving in this town can be one kind of a ride.

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