Causes of road accident in Nigeria - shocking statistics and most tragic cases


Posted by: Hassana Obi

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Nigerian road safety is an alarming situation when our country is always listed in the most fatal list for drivers. Let's find out the causes of road accident in Nigeria.

1. Road accidents in Nigeria: shocking statistics

Hardly a single day goes by without at least one or two road accidents in Nigeria recorded. There also exist countless articles, research, documentary or public speech depicting the hazard while travelling on Nigerian roads with hundreds of ideas and measures proposed to address the problem.

The fact, however, remains unchanged after years.


Road accidents in Nigeria – the alarming problem for years

In 2013, research on the road traffic accident by Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute indicated our country ranked second in the highest rate of road accidents out of 193 nations in the world.

Just within the first half of April which was proved as the rush month of traffic accidents, the research team had recorded 142 deaths on Nigerian streets. Such a shocking statistic, every 10 people died each day goes by in that month!

The research then proposed practical preventive measures such as:

  • Forbidding sales of alcohol in motor parks to reduce driving under the influence
  • Total ban on using mobile devices while driving
  • Comprehensive road pavement maintenance
  • Mandatory use of safety devices


Safety devices as helmets or safety belts must be set as mandatory

Nevertheless, these suggestions seem to be totally ignored by our own residents, synonymous with the indifference to their lives.

Accordingly, the traffic death rate still climbs exponentially. The situation is so serious that in 2016, report from WHO (World Health Organization) has announced Nigeria was the most dangerous country in Africa. Their report showed 33,700 deaths per 100,000 annually.

This means in every 10 people going outside, 3 of them will never come back.

The latest report from NBS (National Bureau of Statistics) published that 2,598 people died due to road crashes from Oct, 2017 to March, 2018.


The number of accidents with casualties doesn’t signal to decline

2. Causes of road accidents in Nigeria: cliché but can’t be missed

We know for sure that you can self-list a myriad of causes of road accidents in Nigeria. This knowledge sounds truly cliché but it’s a must we repeat them here, to once again remind you of what to avoid when travel on road.

Research often categorizes causes into 4 causes of accident: driver, vehicle, road condition and environment. Each group can be divided further into smaller agents. However, to help you see the picture more vividly, present here the 5 most frequently recorded causes in daily traffic.


Both subjective and objective factors are responsible for the problem

Cause #1: Drivers exceed speed limit

Many Nigerians, especially youngsters, are overestimating their maneuverability, at the same time, underestimating the chances they meet the Grim Reaper. Report of FRSC (Federal Road Safety Commission) has confirmed over speeding is the number-one culprit of road crashes which made up 50.81% of total incidents.


Over speeding is leading the top reasons for road crashes

So, be careful next time when you want to show off a bit your speeding skill. For those innocent of these actions, remember to stay far away from such guys on road.

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Cause #2: Poor road condition

Closely following over-speeding, poor road condition ranks number second in the list.

This should be attributed to the lack of proper transport infrastructures by the authorities. Many road constructions, shortly after being built, have revealed deadly potholes or cracks. Uneven terrains, abrupt bends or insufficient lighting systems at night are also posing threats to travelers throughout the country.


Standard transportation facilities are of great importance to ensure road safety

Cause #3: Greedy loading

We won’t need to say much. As you can see commonly on local roads, numerous vehicles carry an unbelievable amount of load, putting them and other drivers in danger. Clearly, with such a huge pile of goods or even passengers, the vehicle operator can hardly keep their steering wheel in firm control.


Overload: time-saving but life-risking

Cause #4: Unfavorable weather conditions

Not all the time does weather support one’s driving, particularly in a scorching hot country in Nigeria.

Extreme weather conditions certainly put strain on drivers, limiting their visibility and challenging their maneuvering ability. That’s why traffic accidents are likely to occur more during hottest periods or heavily rainy days and so on.

Cause #5: Lack of periodical vehicle maintenance

With the increasing use of Tokunbo cars, this cause is surpassing others and approaching the top. When the vehicle is not kept in good condition, plus the poor roads and bad weather, how can one drive smoothly?

Some minor faults in one car may result in sudden stops on the street and cause vehicles behind to hit its rear bumper. Imagine that scene happens on the highway while everyone is travelling at 60-80 km/h, how many can survive?


Poorly-maintained vehicles are omnipresent on Nigerian roads

>>> For simple DIY car care, please visit Maintenance tips & advice on our website!

Need more evidence for what we’ve just said? Check out specific cases below.

3. Accident in Lagos

Of all regions in Nigeria, Lagos is surely the place witnessing most road crashes. Accidents in Lagos not only dominate in quantity but severity as well. Such incidents not only cause great loss in lives but also financially damaging because of gridlocks or traffic congestions following each time accident occurs.

Let us check through some tragic incidents here with the analysis of their causes.

3.1. Lagos Ibadan expressway accidents

Lagos Ibadan expressway accidents are mostly dreadful as vehicles here often travel at high speeds. Occasionally, we would see similar scenes like this.


Remnants after the smash

The above photo was taken in an unfortunate incident last year in which a commercial vehicle run against traffic and slammed straight to the head of a trailer going opposite direction. Several passengers died before the ambulance arrived while others were seriously injured.

Had the driver slowed down a bit and obeyed the traffic rules, we wouldn’t be seeing this much tragedy.

Recently, in June, 8 Nigerians had died due to a serious crash between a Toyota Hiace bus and a Mack truck. The reason for the collision is, predictably, over speeding and improper overtaking of the bus. 7 passengers on the Hiace had died on the spot while the eight other persons died after being delivered to the nearby hospital.

3.2. Lagos Benin expressway accidents

Similar to the accident along Lagos Ibadan expressway, Lagos Benin expressway accidents are no less severe.


A truck collision on Lagos Benin expressway

As in the picture above, two trucks have crashed with each other, causing both to roll off track. However, as these vehicles often carry goods only, casualties may not be as many as in the case of commercial cars.

A much more horrible incident happened at the end of last year: all passengers in a bus travelling on Lagos Benin expressway had died when the vehicle collided with a truck along the same road.

Common causes for both these cases is the ignorance of speed limit, lack of attention, resulting in the lost control of vehicles.

The Most horrific bus accident caused by a Nigerian police

>>> Update latest traffic news here!

Causes of road accidents in Nigeria: our last words

It’s supposed that all those causes of accidents in Nigeria must be shown in driving school before you are granted a driving license. By the way, the arbitrary act of issuing licenses is also a factor contributing to the number of traffic accidents.

Among over 223,000 driver’s licenses issued in the first 3 months of 2018, who knows how many have grabbed traffic laws, road signs or adequate driving skills with proper attitude?

Please pay more attention to your vehicle condition, your speed, roads around the region and most importantly, conform to the traffic rules. While doing that, you’re protecting your life and others’.

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Hassana Obi

Hassana Obi

Car prices

Hassana Obi is an automobile writer and editor at She prides herself on hundreds of informative and entertaining articles on Nigerian traffic regulations, car prices and celebrity car collections. When Hassana is not writing, she is a teacher and philanthropist.

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