REASONS FOR ROAD CRASHES IN NIGERIA by Egbukonye Eberechukwu
Road crash is not a new phenomenon neither is it a non-existing problem. A day cannot go by without the newsletter or radio or any mass media aid giving a headline about an accident on the road.
According to Annual Global Road Crash Statistics, Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally. Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average, 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million people are either injured or disabled. While the statistics is higher in developing countries.
Road crash as a death and injury causing agent is caused by various factors, as it is not a ghost mirage that appear to catch up its victims.
I will now be leading us into discussing on the various factors and reasons responsible for road crashes, especially in the Nigerian context.
- Public transport system: They are believed to be among the major causes of vehicular deaths. In Nigeria for example, public transport providers are known to fill up their vehicles way past safe capacities, while exceeding the speed limits along their routes. They often exhibit open contempt for the rules of the road by using vehicles that are inadequately suited to be on the road; placing their passengers at risk. Few public transport providers have tried to curb this issue of over loading of their vehicles and over speeding. Public transport systems like ABC, God is Good, possess tracking systems that put their drivers in check
- Poor condition of roads: Sometimes, even if you abide by all the rules and drive as carefully as you can, you risk getting into an accident because of many portholes on our roads. A lot of roads in Nigeria are in terrible state, and the further you get from the big cities, the worse they become. This is particularly worst in the eastern and southern part of Nigeria. Their roads are so bad that during the rainy season, vehicles dare not go through them, unless they want to engage in a formal planned suicidal mission, that is how bad the roads are. In this case, the government and its parastatals, with stakeholders should look into it.
- Poor road safety culture/Bad driving habits. Some drivers have no respect for their fellow man when they get on the road. They think that they are always right and the rest are just getting in their way. Moreover, some even get behind the wheel drunk. Such arrogance sometimes leads to dire consequences, as being overconfident in one’s skills might result in a nasty car crash. More so, most Nigerian drivers and vehicle owners lack basic knowledge on the road; like the meaning of traffic lights, road symbols, the necessity of wearing seat belts, helmet for two wheeled automobiles and the dos and don’ts of road safety.
- Poor vehicle maintenance: It might surprise you just how many people get on the road when their car is in no condition to do so. While some of the car issues might not go beyond aesthetics, some might be driving without realizing that their brakes are not working. This endangers both the lives of the driver and their passengers, as well as everyone else on the road. Poor condition of a vehicle can cause most harm for vehicles that carry many people or heavy/dangerous loads. Vehicle owners and drivers should always check up their vehicles before embarking on trips.
- Going over the speed limit: As in most other countries that suffer from high number of road accidents, probably the most prominent cause of trouble on the road is exceeding the speed limit. It is said that over 50% of all road crashes in the country are due to this particular factor. There is a reason they say ‘slow and steady wins the race’, as when you try to reach somewhere quickly by going over the limit, you might end up crashing and end up being late, or worse, not even reaching your destination. This does not apply to commercial drivers only, but youths between the ages of 15 – 34 have been the major victims of over speeding.
These are few of the many factors and reasons of road crashes in the country. I basically decided to focus on these five points because they are prominent among other factors. If these factors be looked up and tackled, road crashes will be at its minimal level in the country.