Taking the driving test – An exhausting day but well worth it

 

Driving Test CenterKenya’s driving test can be a source of great anxiety for learners. Fortunately most will only need to endure it once in their life time. Still, actual events of the day of the test are markedly mysterious. Here is the recent experience of a learner who used one of the largest and most visible driving schools in Nairobi. Continue reading

Road signs of Kenya – practice questions for the driving test

How well do you know the road signs of Kenya? Can you list them? Describe them? Have you mastered the Golden Rule? The meanings of the marks painted on the roadways and pavements? According to one study, 80% of drivers rate themselves as above average — a statistical impossibility. Practice tests and sample questions can help you confirm your level of preparedness.

penThe Kenyan driving test provides opportunities for you to demonstrate your knowledge of:

  • the road signs of Kenya and their meanings
  • the rules of the road and how to share the road with other users
  • your practical ability to drive a vehicle safely, in accordance with the law, and with consideration for other road users

Continue reading

Traffic lights are also part of the road signs of Kenya – and the driving test

TKenyan green traffic lightraffic lights (also designated Class C Signs) are an important part of the road signs of Kenya. They are automatic signalling devices which are used together with road signs and markings to manage traffic flows at road junctions, pedestrian crossings, and other locations. Kenyan traffic lights consist of three colored lights whose lenses face the stream of traffic they are intended to regulate. The lights are arranged in vertical sets with red at the top, followed by amber, then green at the bottom.

Continue reading

Holding the steering wheel – is there a right way?

 

Image of steering wheelOut-of-control motor vehicles can cause great harm. Therefore, learning how to drive in a way that maximizes control over the direction of their motion is very important. As one of the most important controls of a vehicle, the steering wheel must be handled with great care. How you hold and handle the wheel can determine whether you remain in control of the vehicle during both normal driving and unexpected dire situations that may arise on the roads. In addition, some ways of holding the steering wheel can expose you to greater risks of injury during a crash. So, absolutely, there are correct and incorrect ways of holding and Continue reading

Road and kerb markings of Kenya

Yellow_road_marking

Often, when we think of road signs, we limit ourselves to those that are mounted on poles set alongside the roadways. Indeed that is what our previous post focused on. But there is more to road signs, and the driving test includes questions to probe your knowledge of this area. Under Kenya’s Traffic Act, Carriageway and Kerb signs are Class D signs. Some of them are mandatory and must be obeyed, others convey warnings and yet others provide helpful information. In this post we summarize these signs. Full details are in our upcoming book.

Continue reading

Is it so hard for drivers to share roads with other road users?

Kenya Road Sign - Roadworks in Progress AheadA driver overtakes another car at speed alongside a narrow
section of urban road where a new pavement is being constructed, leaving pedestrians (who have been pushed out unprotected onto the street for the duration of the construction — in itself an issue) and construction workers in a cloud of dust. The approach to the section is announced with a road sign indicating “Roadworks Ahead.” To make it worse, that section is right ahead of a bend in the road (which itself is announced by a road sign). How many things are wrong in this all too common scenario on our streets across the country? What could be going on in the mind of such a driver?

Kenya Road Sign - Sharp bend to the leftDrivers of cars and light vehicles account for only 10% of the approximately 3,000 road traffic fatalities experienced in Kenya per year. The rest consist of passengers in cars and light vehicles and pedestrians. And contrary to conventional wisdom, deaths from accidents involving buses account for only 4% of the annual fatalities. So it is not an overreach to remind individual drivers of the huge responsibility that accompanies taking control of vehicles on public roadways. Indeed, Kenya Police data from 1990 shows that 85.5% of the 13,400 (rising to 14,208 in 2012) road traffic accidents resulted from poor human behavior.

Developing good driving habits is very important. This 10 minute video does a great job of reviewing how to be prepared and to take defensive action while navigating busy city streets. Although it is from a UK driving school, the principles are broadly applicable here on our crowded Kenyan roads and, thankfully, the UK is another drive-on-the-left country.

Good habits start by acquiring both the theoretical and practical knowledge involved in sharing our public roadways from the multitude of other road users. Pedestrians, animals and other drivers complicate the driving experience as they may take unpredictable actions. It is dangerous to assume that the car ahead will continue at the same speed or direction, or that the vulnerable child or elderly pedestrian on the pavement will not unexpectedly cross the road without looking in your direction. Being prepared to take safe action is the hallmark of good driving. Once you have viewed the video above, reinforce your knowledge of Kenyan road signs by taking our free online driving quiz available here.

Driving schools play an important role in preparing driving learners for the mandatory driving tests. Obviously the quality of instruction varies greatly. However, like in other areas of training, the Internet provides access to a trove of resources that can help learners not only prepare for the driving test, but to actually become better drivers regardless of the quality of driving school instruction and indeed the driving test itself. Given the critical responsibility we assume when we drive, we need to ensure that we are going the extra mile in terms of preparedness, behavior and focus on the job every time we venture out.

Do we in Kenya treat driving knowledge too lightly?

If you do not read this post completely, just note that our free convenient driving quiz, available here, can help you prepare for your driving test, or refresh your knowledge if you are a long-time driver.

Plenty has been written about the gauntlet that is the Kenyan driving test experience. From this BBC reporter actually taking the test and reporting on it in 2001, to a local Kenyan journalist who went undercover and did the same in 2013, to this exasperated but thankful local Facebook user eliciting enthusiastic comments on his experience in 2013, and this American infectious disease researcher whose pithy diary is laced with irony and humorous descriptions of his 2014 driving school and test experience.

It is entertaining, even cathartic, to make fun of the folly of the driving schools, driving test officers and the Police administration. Indeed they should be censured, and pressured to do their jobs much more professionally. Nevertheless, we must not overlook the fact that regardless of the futility of the testing process, there is still a serious Knowledge (with a capital “K”) involved in taking such powerful and potentially dangerous machinery onto our public roads. We might think – or not – that we are going to be accountable to the Police or the courts for our driving mistakes (and thus the urge to only observe the rules of the road while in the vicinity of Police presence.) In reality, we will ultimately be individually accountable to each other and to ourselves, and to God. The truth is that, ultimately, by individually treating this Knowledge lightly we are only lying to ourselves in the biggest way, with potentially grievous results.

Many say that Kenyans do not place a high value on human life. Where better to find confirmation of this maxim than on the public roads? And in comments made proudly about having circumvented the Knowledge and still being licensed to take on dangerous weapons? Ultimately, there surely isn’t much of a reason for pride. Indeed shame should be the accompanying demeanor.

This is why it is very important to put in the effort before, and especially after the driving lessons and tests to ensure that our Knowledge and clarity about the rules of the road and how to handle vehicles remains fresh and top of mind every time we assume the hallowed role of driver on public roads. It is all well and good to cram the road signs the night before the driving test, but unlike that science or history cramming session, this is knowledge that could mean death or grievous injury for you or others. Therefore after you have miraculously passed the driving test, be sure to regularly review the rules of the road and particularly road signs in Kenya. This is something that you have complete control over. Our free online driving quiz can help you do that conveniently. Find it and use it here.