9 major causes of road accidents in Nigeria: No. 3 is critical!


Causes of road accidents in Nigeria vary and depend on both human and non-human factors. These are the list of causes you should try to avoid for safer Nigerian roads.

Have you ever wondered why car crashes on our roads are on the rise? People and their loved ones are affected daily by these incidents, and families are never the same after such experiences. Life is a journey - literally! We are continually moving from one point to another using different means of transportation. The things we do, however, determine how and when we get there, or if we ever get there. While we might not be responsible for coincidences, we might be in control of some of the causes of road accidents in Nigeria. As Naijacarnews you this article, it will be instructive to note the sources of these mishaps and take appropriate precautions to lessen the spate of road accidents on our roads. So let’s take a look together.

1. The staggering statistics – numbers don’t lie!

First off, Nigeria has an estimated population of 198 million with an average of 6 members in a family, which gives about 33 million families in Nigeria. Now, according to FRSC and Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), there are 1.7 million vehicles in Nigeria 20,000 of which are involved in road accidents yearly, causing an average of 5,000 deaths annually, but that’s not all.

The FRSC and NBS combined records show that a total of 28,195 lives were lost to road crashes within January 2013 and September 2018 (68 months). This indicates that 415 lives are lost per month and 14 lives daily.

Now hang on, if this is true then how many families are lost in road accidents daily? You wouldn't be wrong if you said 2. This means 2 whole families are lost every day in Nigeria to road accidents. Astonishing isn’t it?

Here’s another way to think about it, with the increase in vehicle population, is the causes of road accidents in Nigeria ever going to reduce? That’s the real question for all of us considering we all know the peculiarities of our country Nigeria.

Factors affecting road accidents - is it all human fault?

Just imagine that we all sit in our houses and nobody leaves their homes to use the road to get to any particular location. Of course, the roads will all be free, and accidents will reduce to zero on our statistics board. That’s a fairy tale. The reality is that man will always move and use roads for economic purposes in the very least. Human beings, therefore, constitute a significant factor in road transportation and can never be removed from the equation of road accidents.


Road accidents are not limited to cheap cars, very expensive cars are also involved

What’s more, statistics from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) show that among the factors responsible for all road accidents including infrastructure, vehicle failure, human error and weather, human factor accounts for 85% of all road accidents. The question, therefore, remains how do we all participate in the causes of road accidents in Nigeria? Whether it’s over-speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or failure to use safety devices provided, all aggregate to a massive index of an unsafe road for users.

2. Causes of road accidents in Nigeria – the real deal!

So we finally get to the juice of the matter. Here you’ll find the primary reasons attributed to the cause of road accidents in Nigeria and indeed the world.  Most importantly though, is to note one’s areas of short fallings and to seek ways to correct those issues.

2.1. Overloading

This is a regular feature of vehicles on Nigerian roads, and it’s common with commercial vehicles and goods carriers. We’ve all seen it at some point where a car loads goods in the vehicle to fill every available cargo space. The driver might even carry some of the products on top of the vehicle, leaving no room to manoeuvre the gears, let alone have a good view of the back of the car using the rearview mirrors. Such situations are a dime a dozen on our roads adding to the causes of road accidents in Nigeria.

Whenever you aim to load "a bit" more on your vehicle, remember this: "If you run after two hares, you will catch neither." In fact, you may grasp all or lose all, but the latter happens more frequently.


Overloading is fast becoming a major cause of road accidents in Nigeria!

2.2. Poor road infrastructures

This is perhaps where most road users get a feeling that the government is also responsible for the causes of some car crashes. This can be attributed to the seeming negligence of road infrastructures like smooth, pothole-free roads, street lights, adequate road markings, and drainages. This is true as some of these roads have been tagged “road to hell” because of their disrepair states. However, it behoves every driver to drive with extra care knowing the condition of the roads. 

2.3. Overspeeding

This is the leader when causes of road accidents in Nigeria are discussed, especially for fatal accidents. This is as confirmed by every authority consulted on the subject of road safety including WHO, FRSC, NBS, ITA and lots more. Think about it for a moment, and you’ll find that you’ve erred at one time or the other but have lived to tell the story others have not been lucky. It is still preferable to arrive late than be declared “late.”

2.4. Driving under the influence of alcohol

Taking alcohol or other psychoactive substance can also result in a road crash because it interferes with the cognitive abilities of the driver at certain levels in the blood. This has also become rampant with commercial bus drivers and okada (bike) riders. You will surely find many empty sachets of alcohol which have been consumed by these drivers.

2.5. Non-use of safety devices provided

Failing to make use of safety devices provided for vehicles and bikes can result in a fatal crash. Safety devices like seat-belts, helmets and child straps can help save lives in case of an auto crash reducing the probability of fatality of the crash.


Seat belts can protect car occupants from casualty during car crash!

2.6. Inclement weather

Even though one does not have the powers to control the weather, it is wise to find a safe place to park one’s car when visibility becomes a problem due to unfavourable weather. A place like a filling station can be perfect to park during heavy rains.

2.7. Poor maintenance of the vehicle

This is a problem found with both commercial and private vehicles but is more prevalent with commercial vehicles. One will think that commercial vehicle would not be found with this kind of issues, primarily because their vehicle is their money-making tool. Many usually start a journey they know they cannot end and have either ended by the roadside or “the other side.” This accounts for a major part of the causes of road accidents in Nigeria.


You may see this often while travelling in Nigeria

2.8. Dangerous and reckless driving habits

Dangerous driving can include answering phone calls while driving, overtaking while climbing a hill, overtaking at a bend, and not allowing people overtake you. Reckless driving includes tailgating, passing restricted areas illegally, running red lights, not letting a pedestrian pass even on a zebra crossing – this very common in Nigeria.

2.9. Fatigue

The body needs rest after much work including driving for long hours non-stop and will always demand it when the time comes. If you, however, fail to give the body the necessary rest it deserves, fatigue sets in, then the body can forcefully take the rest as it does not like to be cheated.

Human factor accounts for a lot of road accidents!

3. So what’s the answer? - Solutions to road accidents in Nigeria

The truth is that a lot can be done to reduce the incessant road accidents in Nigeria. Don’t forget that 80% of the causes of road accidents in Nigeria are human-induced. So first of all, every driver and road user should decide to correct their errors in conforming with laid down traffic rules and regulations. This will be the first steps in making the roads safer for every user. The remaining preventive measures are listed below.

  • Better road safety awareness

The government can use mass media like television, radio, and posters to enlighten the public on critical road safety matters. Social media and the internet is another form of communication outlet that can be used to educate all road users. And for individuals, educate yourself with safe driving tips is always highly recommended for your own life.

  • Stiffer sanctions for traffic offenders

Stiffer and stricter penalties should be put in place for traffic offenders and prosecution of traffic offence should be justly delivered to offenders to serve as a deterrent to aspiring offenders.

  • Improved road infrastructure

This will very well reduce the causes of road accidents in Nigeria to the barest minimum. If the lights are available to give increased visibility, adequate road markings to guide drivers and pothole-free roads are available then road crashes might even be halved in little time.


Good road infrastructure help to reduce the causes of road accidents drastically!

  • Better vehicle maintenance

The responsibility of this lies with the driver, ensuring that cars are well maintained and taken care of will increase the life span of the vehicle as well as that of the driver.

  • More rest stops for drivers

Drivers should learn to observe the more rest stops while driving on a long trip. Planning a minimum of 15 minutes rest stop for every 2 hours’ drive is ideal.

4. Wrap up

By now you’ll have realised the importance of taking adequate caution to reduce the causes of road accidents in Nigeria from this article. With all these said, Naijacarnews still realises that if the steps to actualising these measures listed here are not taken, the dream of a safer road might not be achieved. The questions now are, are you going to take the steps, or is it just going to remain words on another smart screen? The ball is in your court.

Segun Ogunbiyi