A recent survey carried out in over 150 countries showed that Nigeria has some of the worst roads in the world. From the road network, to the standard of the roads and lack of maintenance, Nigerian drivers are likely to come across a bad road at least once every two days.
You already know what this means for your car. You'll likely have to go for routine maintenance more often than the designated average of every 5,000 miles. Though you are not in charge of how good or bad Nigerian roads are, but you need to make an effort to ensure your vehicle doesn't take the hit at the end of the day. Therefore, here are some helpful tips on how to drive on bad Nigerian roads, collected from experienced drivers on Naijauto.com!
1. Know what wheel drive your car is
Usually, cars come as either an all-wheel, 4-wheel, front-wheel or rear-wheel drive. You need to know which one your vehicle comes with. This goes a long a way in helping you drive on bad Nigerian roads. You won't want to keep struggling with your wheels in dust, mud or flooded terrain.
For example, all-wheel and four-wheel drives are known to do well on pretty much any kind of road. It's easy to drive on muddy, dusty and thick roads without much strain on the tyres. All-wheel drives are also a lot easy to handle and maneuver with, as compared to two-wheel drives. Two-wheelers (front-wheel or rear-wheel drive) don't do so well on rough roads. Therefore, if you know you would always drive on rugged terrain, it's wise to buy an all-wheel drive instead.
If you are not sure how good or bad the road is, follow the tyre trail of other drivers
>>> Besides special techniques for driving through bad roads, you should grab these 10 basic safe driving rules first: 10 safe driving rules every driver must follow
2. Make necessary adjustments
Some schools of thought argue that many cars aren't made for bad Nigerian roads because they are either too low or the shocks are too basic. If you know you would be driving off-road or on bad roads a lot, you need to consider making some necessary adjustments to your vehicle. Those who drive SUVs need not worry a lot, but if you drive a sedan you might have to uplift your car. Visit your mechanic and have them install bigger tyres and rims. You'll also need to get quality shocks and suspensions so occupants of the car (including you) won't feel the strain that comes with entering potholes and climbing bumps continuously.
3. Drive at moderate speed
If you drive a lot on bad Nigerian roads, you will easily notice that most commercial drivers actually drive at high speed. This is probably so they can get off the road as quickly as possible. But this method is wrong - as you would likely cause more harm to your vehicle than good. Some believe driving fast prevents screws from falling off several parts of the vehicle, while others believe the idea is to make the bumpy ride less stressful. But the wise thing to do is to drive slowly. It puts less strain on your shocks, tyres and occupants are less stressed. You won't want to have your car literally flying over a bump or even swerving off the road. Keep in mind that it's also easier to control your vehicle when you're at a moderate speed.
4. Take emergency tools with you
Driving on bad Nigerian roads mean you have to be ready for any emergency. For instance, if your car is stuck in sand or mud, you'll need a shovel to take it out. If your tyre gets punctured, you'll need a spare and a jack. When the engine over heats, you'll need a coolant. Therefore, it's only wise that you have these equipment at all at times at the boot of your car. Don't forget your first aid kit, fire extinguisher, jumper cables for your battery and water.
>>> Always make sure your car have these essential tools: Ready for road: must-have items in your car
5. Follow other cars tyre tracks
On most bad Nigerian roads, you would come across tyre tracks from other cars. This definitely shows you what path to take down. If it's a commonly used road, tail other cars from behind and keep a safe distance. There's no need overtaking on a road you aren't so familiar with - to avoid taking the wrong path. Commercial bus drivers who are always on the road are the best people to tail when driving on bad roads. This is because they are more familiar with the roads and know what areas to avoid.
Finally, it's important that you take your car for routine checks possibly every week if you drive on bad Nigerian roads constantly. This is because stones and mud my stick somewhere and prevent smooth flow of certain car compartments. The suspensions and shocks also need to be regularly checked. Bolts and nuts would have to tightened and any leaks covered. However, if you drive on such roads only once in while, service your car before the trip and immediately after. Go for wheel balancing as well. Once you follow these tips, you'll have your vehicle looking brand new regardless of what kind of roads it's been on!
>>> Read more about road usage and safe driving right here on Naijauto.com!