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Nairobi News : November 27th 2013
22 Wednesday, Nov 27 - Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 nairobinews.co.ke mytake Njoki Chege City Girl Driving for dummies S omebody once said that if you can drive in Nairobi, then you my friend, can drive anywhere. I took some time, both on the road and off it, to observe our style and came up with a few tips that new city drivers can use. Read them carefully and thank me later. 1. Overlap. Everyone else is doing it One of the biggest sins in Nairobi Pre-teens and teenagers are likely to tell a lie when they feel pressured to look cool or want to get out of unpleasant situations. File, NairobiNews When the phone rings past midnight and he lies about it... Training. When your pre-teen tells a fib, it is okay to ignore it but only if the stakes are not very high He said the best way to deal with the D uring last year’s April holidays , I was awakened by my vibrating phone. I groggily answered it only to be surprised by someone asking to speak to my 15-year-old son – past midnight! I explained that it would not be possible at that hour. The next morning, I confronted my son with questions. He looked at me and denied knowing any girl called Faith. Even though I was suspicious, I let it go. This happened for several nights even as the girl got irritated at my refusal to call my son to the phone. When my patience snapped, I demanded that he calls the number which he reluctantly did. Lecture The girlish squeals that poured out from the phone’s speaker left him with little room to manoeuvre out of the situation, though he did try. What followed was a long lecture about telling lies. When I told my husband about it, he listened quietly and said that he was aware the boy was a liar. issue was to acknowledge it without lecturing, thereby making him understand that being dishonest would not get him what he wanted. As he listened to the boy’s side of the story — some cockeyed tale about how the girl had hounded his classmates until she discovered my mobile number — my husband asked him why Catherine Mbura Urban Mum her phone. Teenagers often stretch the truth to avoid getting into trouble, appear cool to their peers, avoid hurting other people’s feelings and doing something they do not want to do like studying or house chores. I guess I was able to let this incident pass because his underlying motives were understandable. Hurting But, when he lies for more serious Normal: Teenagers often stretch the truth to avoid getting into trouble and to appear cool to their peers” he chose to lie about the girl, saying that while we had no objections whatsoever to his friends calling him, they should know the best time to do so. Our son, shocked that his dad had discovered his lies, apologised. It became clear that his friend — a former classmate in primary school — could only call him at such odd hours because she too, had to wait for her mother to sleep before ‘borrowing’ reasons, then his dad and I have to take stern action. His grades last term were appalling, and the flimsy reasons he gave could not go unchallenged. Sometimes we parents treat the fibs our teens tell us as a moral issue, pulling out all the lectures. It is extremely difficult for us not to start lecturing whenever we see them veering off the virtuous route. In my son’s case, an honest, judge- ment-free discussion was all it took to find a solution. We parents need to teach our chil- dren appropriate problem-solving skills to eliminate their feeling pressured to lie due to what appears to be an impossible situation. Driving in Nairobi is not for the faint hearted. File, NairobiNews driving is overlapping. My advice, just do it! Everyone else is doing it anyway. Here’s how to overlap: you find yourself in maddening traffic (say on Magadi Road), it is bumper to bumper, but what do you know? The opposite lane is as clear as a January sky. What do you do? Take a deep breath, swerve your car into the opposite lane and step on the accelerator like your life depends on it. (Which it does, when you think about it). Ignore the blaring horns from the ‘patient’ drivers you leave behind. Look out for a hungry cop waiting like a vulture for wanton drivers like you. Most important, look out for that lazy driver who leaves a sizeable gap between his car and the one in front of him. Squeeze yourself into that space before the now malicious driver closes the gap. 2. Roundabouts? Pshh! Always change lanes at round- abouts, other drivers will understand, whether they like it or not! So you are on the first lane (they count them from left) and your destination requires you to be on lane four. Traffic has started moving and you are wondering how to get to lane four. Worry not. Just flow with the traffic. Once you get to the roundabout, change lanes. It doesn’t matter if you indicate or not. Move to the second lane, to the third, and finally to the fourth. Other drivers will understand, no, they must! Superhighway on your way to town, driving at a normal speed of 100 km/ h. You quickly catch up with a raggedy jalopy going at 30km/h. Don’t reduce your speed. Just glance at the side mirror and, if the car in the next lane is less than 10 metres behind you, jump into that lane. Ignore the flashing of lights or hooting. If you are not comfortable in that lane, or if that driver keeps hooting and flashing lights at you, jump into the next lane, or go back to the lane you were in before. The other drivers behind you will just accept and move on. 3. Zig-zag is best You are on the beloved Thika 4. Ignore road courtesy It is not a show of gentleman-ness, but a show of weakness, so be done with it! If you want to enter a junction, courtesy demands you flash your lights to ask the other driver for permission to enter the junction. Don’t do that. The road doesn’t belong to him, or his father, so just make sure he is a distance from the junction and then ‘whoop!’ enter the junction. If you are in traffic, and there is no way you can overlap, and the other lane is moving, move to that lane. It doesn’t matter if you indicate or not. Don’t beep or give a hand signal to ask for permission. Just force your way into that lane. You may have difficulty here as there is some malicious, law- abiding drivers, but there’s always that one gullible driver, usually a lady. If you are an experienced driver, the other drivers automatically become gullible. 5. Bribe the cops; you’re in a hurry. When overlapping and zig-zagging do not work, try illegal turns. This works for Kenyatta Avenue; near The Serena. If traffic into town is clogged, just get into the outer lane, look out for oncoming cars, jump over the kerb and you are good. If there is a cop waiting for you at the State House Road junction, Sh200 ‘lunch’ will free you.
November 25th 2013
December 2nd 2013