Driving in k’la. Every driver has experienced the frustration that comes with driving around Kampala. Forget the boda-bodas that will have you wishing them away, there are drivers who will make you hate the road; from squeezing between cars, honking recklessly, speeding to hating on the Vitz, Kampala has them all.
You meet them every day. You are probably one of them. Ugandan drivers come in all kinds of flavours. They are unique in their ways and they will always give you a thing or two to talk about. But have you wondered which type of road driver you are? Or perhaps, which type you just met? Wonder no more.
The short-cut fanatics
These ones are always looking for short-cuts to everything. The moment they notice any build-up in traffic, they will look for a nearby short-cut and branch off. Sometimes, all they do is follow taxi drivers and that is how they discover new routes.
If you think Ugandan police is slow, you have not seen the turtles. They take their time, they are not in a rush to make a turn. Make a mistake and give them a chance to join the road, you will regret your decision. Because they will take years to join the lane.
Club in motion
They have failed at everything in life, but they will not fail at having the best sound system in their car. Above all, they will not fail at making sure every other road user has a chance to enjoy their music selection. These ones also have traits of singers. They try.
Hand language speakers
These ones are always using their hands to communicate. They will raise their hand to show gratitude towards another driver’s gesture. They will put our their hands to wave through other drivers. They will use their hands to ask for a chance to join a lane. It is all about their hands.
The social media addicts
Their hands are always hugging their phones. They are the queens and kings of texting. Often times, they are always driving automatic cars. They have a special liking for the small cars; the Vitz and the Ist to mention but a few. To find your next sample of addicts, look around at the traffic lights stops.
You will always enjoy as a passenger in their cars. They are the biggest supporters of the road hawkers. But watch out, they also make up the largest percentage of those who litter. We celebrate all the foodies that ply our roads. Where would we be without your ‘hunger’?
School of the road rage
They are always venting out at other road users. It is how they find the peace out of life. Make ye not the mistake of scratching their cars or even imagining yourself scratching one. In the school of the road rage are the complainers and the whiners. If you want some inner peace, never sit in the car of complainers. Everything annoys them, everything signifies ‘volongoto’ to them. They rant about everything. They think every road user is incompetent and imagine themselves to be the professionals.
These ones love hooting. They hoot at everything in the world. They hoot to signal the driver ahead to move faster. They hoot for the pedestrian trying to cross the road. They hoot when they see a friend. Their hands cannot let go on the horn.
In the beginning of driving, these ones created the extra lane. They account for 90 per cent of traffic jam in Uganda. When a convoy happens to pass by, they will always follow right behind it. They will leave their queue and try to squeeze back minutes later. They are experts at beating the traffic lights. Divergents will drive on pavements. As long as a car can fit, they will find a way out. We suspect that most of these are former boda boda riders.
The dirty cars
For some reason, it is always either raining in their areas or the dust is at its peak. Their cars are always dirt-beaten. It used to be drivers from Kulambiro, now they have their brothers in Buwate joining the crew. They gave up on washing their cars. Now, they own their flaws and show up comfortably on the iron thrones of their dirty cars.
The sachet fuel
Running out of fuel is normal for some people. These are the kind of drivers that detest full tanks. They just re-fuel just enough to get them to their destination. Once in a while, they make poor estimates. And when they run out of fuel, they always have an empty jerrycan in their boot. They are always prepared for the rainy day. If you sit in a car and notice that the fuel gauge stopped functioning or that the driver quickly engages neutral while descending down a slope, then you have met the sachet type.
Government officials in Uganda are very special. They belong to their own class of drivers. We propose that in the next budget reading, they could construct special lanes for their cars. Sometimes you wonder… why would a Ministry of Agriculture vehicle demand for right of way? They are always in a rush to a place no one knows. They disregard all rules. They punish other road users. To put it simply, we pay taxes to fund their privilege.
If you can drive in Kampala, you can drive anywhere else in the world. To drive in Kampala is to fight a game of thrones. And in the game of thrones, you do not reveal your next move. It is for this reason that people do not use indicators in Kampala. Some call it indiscipline, Kampala drivers call it keeping cards to one’s chest. I suspect that on judgement day, all we shall have to do is present our ‘flight hours’ on the Kampala roads and Jesus will break down and cry on our behalf.