In “Transportation: Removing the Clogs to Nigeria’s Development”, Professor Bamidele Badejo mentions that transport is life. He submits that without transportation, life itself will be at a halt. Workers – doctors, nurses, police, firefighters and others – will be nowhere their duty posts.
Transportation, during the Paleolithic age, was mainly human locomotion and the usage of rafts. During this period, travelling was not dangerous in terms of crashes but it was tedious and tiring. However, modern types of equipment for transportation have brought more ease but brought about different forms of accidents.
While there are different modes of transportation with technological advancements, the focus is essentially on road transportation and some of the dangerous attitudes drivers display when driving. The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in the year 2021, through the FRSC Annual report, listed Speed Violation (SPV), Loss of Control (LOC), Sign Light Violation (SLV), Dangerous Driving (DGD), and Wrongful Overtaking (WOV) as the top five (5) probable causes of road crashes in Nigeria.
This unfortunate reality has shown that motorists’ actions on the road massively determine what happens on the road. It has become pertinent to continually inform road users that human factors cause most road crashes. Some of these actions have led to the loss of lives and the destruction of property on roads nationwide.
Dangerous driving is the act of operating a motor vehicle in a manner that falls far below what is expected of a competent and careful driver, thereby putting the lives of the driver and other road users at risk. Actions that constitute dangerous driving include driving against traffic (commonly known as one-way driving in Nigeria), ignoring traffic lights, signs, and enforcement officers, driving under the influence, and many others. The consequences of these actions include various types of road crashes, collisions with unaware pedestrians, injuries, and fatalities. The unfortunate reality is that motorists who engage in such behaviour often neglect the potential consequences of their actions.
Aggressive driving is any unsafe driving behaviour performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety. Some motorists transfer their aggression to other road users who may know nothing about what they are going through. They act as if the road they are on is exclusively meant for them, leading to a lack of respect for other road users. Unfortunately, this behaviour has resulted in numerous deaths and loss of lives. A few examples of aggressive driving include verbal abuse of other road users while driving, unnecessary road blockage, changing lanes without consideration for other road users, and abrupt application of brakes.
Inappropriate parking on roads, either to pick up or drop off passengers, seems to be rampant on our roads nationwide. Based on my observations, ever since the removal of fuel subsidies, Abuja motorists rarely park properly to pick up passengers. Drivers now line up inappropriately on roads, hustling for passengers. Some motorists even park in the middle of the road to engage in fights with other road users. The resultant effects of these ill actions include traffic congestion, spending long hours on roads and other issues.
Refusal to Give Way
A road is public property and not exclusively for one driver or a specific set of drivers. Hence, there is a need to respect and give the right of way to other road users. We are obligated to allow pedestrians, the elderly, and animals to equally make use of the road.
The speed and kilometres expected of all categories of vehicles on different road types are clearly stated in the Nigeria Highway Code. On expressways, car drivers are only allowed to cover 100 kilometres per hour, while bus drivers are required to drive within 90 kilometres per hour. In built-up areas, both bus and car drivers must not exceed 50 kilometres per hour. According to the Federal Road Safety Annual Report 2021, the number one cause of crashes in Nigeria is Speed Violation (SPV).
The advent of modern transportation has made it possible for humans to move with ease from one location to another. While this has been a great invention, diverse crashes, especially those related to road transportation, are being caused by human factors. Motorists tend to exhibit irrational actions such as driving beyond the speed limit, engaging in aggressive driving, disrespecting other road users, and parking abruptly on highways, among others. All these actions have resultant effects on all road users, leading to long delays in traffic, crashes, and loss of lives. Nationally, this has resulted in numerous deaths over the years, an increase in total cases of accidents, and many other related incidents. It is time we obeyed traffic rules, signs, and enforcement officers to enjoy a safer motoring environment.