Road signs in Nigeria - everything you need to know

By Hassana Obi
Publish on October 05, 2018

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There are hundreds of road signs in Nigeria, so how can you remember them all? This post below will group signs into different categories with the most obvious symbols for you to realize.

Bewildered with roads signs in Nigeria? Does the sign with an arrow pointing left mean I can turn left or I must turn left? Why are there different shapes and colors of them? Well, it is understandable that you are confused by those driving road signs. No worry, it is not as complicated as you might think once you finish this article. Let's join Naijauto and explore!

1. What is traffic signal?

To put it simply, traffic signals are symbolized, illustrative guidance for road users for safer and more convenient traveling. It doesn’t matter you drive a car, ride a bike or just walk, it is mandatory that you obey all the traffic signals in Nigeria as they are definitely not decorators of urban design. Nor are they there for your reference. They were born to stay and be conformed to.

2. Road traffic signs in Nigeria

Given our high rate of road accidents, you might be surprised that road traffic signs in Nigeria cover every guidance you need down the road, be it traffic regulations, special hazards and other road conditions, or construction areas speed limits. 

>>> Also check out: Nigeria will rank among top 20 countries with the safest roads by 2020

Types of road signs

It might look countless when it comes to road symbols used in Nigeria, but actually, we can classify them into 3 main types of road signs based on their main purposes. A large number of these road signals are influenced by international regulations for traffic signs, particularly MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) of the United States.

a pile of road signs

Signs are the simple illustration of law and substitutes for traffic management officers

The first and foremost symbols you must stick to are regulatory signs which could be prohibitory or showing directions. Should you refuse to follow these regulations, our respectful policemen will certainly call you upon for a severe fine.

Next come the warning signs, reminding you of road dangers ahead. Neglecting these kind reminders means you’re ignoring your own life.

The last but not least markings are informative signs which inform vehicles of specific places, road conditions, road construction sites or speed limits for particular areas. No one is gonna punish you for not paying attention to these signals but you might waste the whole day looking for a place instead of referring to those road signs.

Is it now a bit clearer about types of road signs available in Nigeria for you now?

LEARN TRAFFIC SIGNS | ROAD SIGNS WITH MEANINGS FOR KIDS AND ALL

3. List of road signs and their meanings

3.1. Regulatory traffic signs: the must-obey

Regulatory traffic signs are to control the traffic flow as well as ensure the road safety. Strictly follow these orders and you can save either your life or money.

Usually, these signs are designed in circular shape, divided into 2 types with distinctive features that are easy to spot.

3.1.1. Don’t you dare? - Prohibitory signs

Of course these signs are to prohibit you from doing something. Prohibitory signs are mostly circles, painted in red and yellow colors. Usually, the banned objects are written in the center with a diagonal line crossing through.

Below are typical road signals with names you probably encounter:

prohibitory road signs in nigeria

Prohibitory symbols as on stop signs are easy to spot

Can you deduce the rules in designing these traffic signs and symbols? Easy, isn't it?

Now take a look at these pictures of road signs with all meanings removed and self-check in your mind how many prohibitory signs you can figure out! As we will give correct answers right after, remember to hover on the photo till you finish naming all these symbols.

Nigerian prohibitory sign collection

Can you name all of these prohibitions?

Congratulations, you've completed the challenge! Below are the correct answers:

Number 1. Stop at intersection

Number 2. No entry for vehicles having axle load exceeding 8 metric tonnes

Number 3. No horn

Number 4. Close to all vehicles in both directions

Number 5. Stop police

Number 6. No entry for vehicles having overall width exceeding 2m

Number 7. Speed limit (maximum)

Number 8. No entry for pedal cycles

Number 9. No left turn

Number 10. No entry for lorries

Number 11. Derestriction sign

Number 12. No entry for all vehicles

Number 13. Parking prohibited (from 8:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m)

Number 14. No stopping

Number 15. Litter prohibited

>>> You might also want to check out: 

3.1.2. Mandatory road signs

Still in circular shape but covered in blue background without perimeter are mandatory road signs which typically give directions. The directions are usually noted in white.

As you may see below, all the directions are straight-forward and easy to understand.

Mandatory road signs in Nigeria

Direction street signs look much more friendly than prohibitory category

3.2. Informative road signs

As their names reveal, these street signs for driving in Nigeria provide useful information on where you can look for a rest area, an airport or simply inform the status of roads/ areas ahead.

These markings are most variable in designs but often remaining uniform in rectangular shapes.

Pay close attention to their guidance to avoid time-consuming drive!

illustration of informative signs

Usually, informative signs will write down names of roads, objects or places...

Warning signs

Warning road signs -  the most important road safety signs, are often put in triangles with red borders. There’s only one exception with inverted triangular shape which requires drivers to give way.

Because these warnings are of great importance for drivers, we will let you have a quick look through common signs with their names noted underneath before checking your memory.

common warning signs in Nigeria

Warning signs are mostly painted in hot color to alert dangers

It's high time to review what you've just read. We will just pick several typical warnings for a quick check.

Answers will be noted after the series of unnamed road signs.

a pedestrian crossing road sign

a slippery road sign

an uneven road sign

a double bend warning sign

What meanings do these sign convey?

3...2...1. Time's up!

The first should be easy for all of you as this is one of the most basic traffic signs in every country. It indicates pedestrian crossing ahead, so you are supposed to slow down then stop before the zebra line.

The second sign demonstrates a car veering due to wet road. Yes, it is the warning for upcoming slippery road. Neglecting this notice, you and your car may end up lying still somewhere along the streets.

The third one seems to be clear-cut with instructions: "Reduce speed now" but the illustration above it is not exactly a speed limit sign. It is the marking for uneven roads.

Finally, we come to the warning for dangerous double bend. However, this illustration can't even express the hazard of some Nigerian roads like this:

bending roads in Nigerian mountain

A photo of curving roads on Obudu mountain in Nigeria

Our advice

Needless to say, you should note down all these road signs in Nigeria and their meanings in your handbook so that you can check them everytime you travel on road. Should you miss a regulatory sign and be called upon by police officers, show them your road sign manual at least to prove your effort in learning them, then promise not to take your eyes off road next time!

>>> Explore the largest garage of cars for sale in Nigeria:

Information source: highwaycode.com.ng & naija.ng

Hassana Obi

Hassana Obi is an automobile writer and editor at Naijauto.com. 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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