Nigerian roads are just not in the best shape. You get to see and feel the extent of how terribly rough Nigerian roads are when you have to make long inter-state trips by road. You just wish you had enough cash to make that trip by air. A journey that should last no more than 4 hours ends up taking 6-8 hours. Add to this the heavy stress your body will have to contend with during such long bumpy hours. I remember making a trip from Uyo to Lagos, the stretch of roads in Imo state is just too terrible, not to mention the terrible road in Ijebu area of Ogun state when you trying to connect Ajah.
My brothers, that road eh fit comot persin belle!!!
Before we go any further, let's get a fair idea of the extent of bad roads in the country. Recently a Federal senator stated that the 2020 Budget can only cater to only 500 out of over 1300 major roads that need rehabilitation. This figure very likely includes only the highways and excludes the terrible roads we have to contend with within our various cities and towns. The realities of our roads bring up the need for this advisory on how to safely drive on rough Nigerian roads.
Helpful Tips for driving on Rough Nigerian Roads
1. Slow down
This is definitely the most important advice and tip to safely navigating through rough Nigerian roads. We already know that speed kills, but speeding on these bad roads makes sure you definitely get killed early.
A recent report from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics showed that Speed violation and overspeeding accounted for over 50% of all accidents that occurred in the country. And that was just within the second quarter of 2018!
So, the safe bet is to bring your speed down even far below the recommended speed limit. FRSC has set the maximum speed limit on all Nigerian roads at 62 mph or 100 km/hr and our advice is that you go even lower than this figure on these roads.
FRSC stated speed limits are meant to save lives
2. Manage potholes
Potholes pose a lot of danger to your car and ultimately your personal safety. Even if you are conversant with the FRSC guide on how to drive through potholes safely, you'd best still be careful around these silent predators.
Potholes have been fingered in most accidents that occur on our roads and are also responsible for serious damage cars develop when they crash into them. So we advise that:
- You try to avoid distractions and keep your full attention on the road so you can notice these potholes in time.
- Try to avoid water puddles on the road as they may actually be deep and dangerous potholes covered by water.
- Keep a good distance between you and the car ahead of you, to make sure you have enough time to avoid a pothole that shows up ahead of you.
- If you must drive over a pothole, make sure to slow down well enough and then drive through at low speed to minimize the vibrations reaching your car.
Potholes are a known cause of roll-over Accidents
All this information about potholes will protect your car so be sure to study them carefully.
3. Make sure your car's suspension system is sound
The suspension system of a car essentially absorbs the vibrations that result from the uneven road surface, making sure you enjoy a smooth and less bumpy ride. However, if this system is faulty, you are likely to experience a bumpy and less pleasant trip.
In extreme situations where your suspensions are bad and you drive them over these bad roads, you're likely to lose control of your car and then roll over with dire consequences. So please make sure your vehicle shocks or struts are in good shape before taking to the road.
4. Make sure your car's tire pressure is accurate
The nature of Nigerian roads means that your vehicle's tire must always be on point, or else you get exposed to many dangers like a tire burst. Please make sure your tire is properly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended figure.
A tire low on pressure reduces the ability of your car to better manage road vibrations as well as reduces the stability of your car as it drives through rough road patches. On the other hand, an over-inflated tire is at risk of bust-up which can be a perilous situation. So, please confirm your car's recommended tire pressure on the car's manual and keep your tire pressure on this mark.
5. Understand your car
Knowing your car's configuration is very vital as it helps you make informed decisions while on the road. For instance, you intend to take a certain bad and winding road with your front-wheel-drive car. You should know that even though your car will have better traction, your handling will not be top-notch. So you would need to be more careful when taking corners and shape bends. However, if your vehicle is a Rear-Wheel Drive car, you would also want to know that you will have better handling compared to the FWD cars.
In this, your car's traction will not be so great, and so you will want to exercise extra caution while approaching sandy and very bad portions of the road to avoid getting stuck.
Rear Wheel Drives are prone to get stuck in the mud and sandy roads
6. Make Sure to move around with Emergency Equipment
Don't forget to go with the necessary tools and equipment you may require to make emergency stops like a tire change. Remember that cars are mechanical structures that are prone to failure especially when you're driving through bad roads. So, make sure you carry around emergency equipment and tools like Jumper Cables, car Jack, shovel, first aid kits, and a spare tire.
On the flip side, enjoy this video on funny things you see on Nigerian roads.
The ultimate advice when it comes to this issue is to completely avoid driving through bad roads altogether if possible. However, since our roads are generally bad, please bring your speed down so you can safely navigate through the bad spots on these roads. The next time you take to the road, remember to put the tips in this article to good use and you'll probably arrive at your destination safely. Also, your car will still be in good condition. Safe driving!
Hope these tips on how to drive on rough Nigerian roads help. Stay tuned!
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