Why do most Nigerians drive recklessly? Is it that most Nigerians are not aware of road signs and driving courtesy? Is ignorance an excuse to drive recklessly? While you are figuring out the answers to these questions, let’s look at what is reckless driving. While the definition of reckless driving varies by state and local regulation, it is generally described by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the United States of America as “driving a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” It is considered a conscious or intentional indifference to the rules of the road and operation of a vehicle, with knowledge that damage could be done.
Driving in Nigeria can sometimes be difficult, one will think that most Nigerians are not aware of traffic signs or driving rules and regulation. It seems most Nigerians do not understand driving courtesy, everyone seems to be in a rush to get to their destination not minding if they cause harm to other vehicles or persons. A lot of drivers on the road tend not to observe road lanes within the city, often attempting to drive into any available space not minding the consequences, they drivers get as close as they can and suddenly cut in front of you, you must be consciously at alert and pay full attention while driving on Nigerian roads mostly in the big cities.
If you are a pedestrian, I will suggest you watch carefully when crossing the road even when you are on green as most cars do not respect the sign and others don’t understand road signs. In my opinion, must Nigerians need to be trained on road usage, courtesy and also learn every road signs.
A 2015 post on Facebook by the Federal Road Safety Corps in Nigeria titled RECKLESS DRIVING FACTS reads…”Reckless driving is considered a serious crime. Alcohol intoxication, drug usage, distractions from mobile devices or other passengers, and mood disturbances can contribute to reckless driving. Reckless driving is the intentional disregard of traffic laws.
Reckless drivers are those who do not obey posted traffic signs and warnings, do not yield to other drivers or otherwise create dangerous and unsafe conditions while driving.
We advise that you obey all traffic laws. Wear a safety belt and be aware of your surroundings. Do not drive after consuming alcohol or drugs, and be sure that passengers do not cause distractions”.
There is so much awareness to be done in this area, government and the private sectors need to get involved for better road courtesies and safety measure.
According to Maxokada.medium.com, One of the primary concerns of other drivers should be reckless driving, as it has over time become a challenge to road users and a lead cause of road crashes. Reckless driving could result from unruly behavior, intoxication, excessive lane changing, over speeding, poor vehicle maintenance, among others, which often lead to accidents.
Due to its extensive nature, driving recklessly is a traffic offence. This is because a reckless driver disregards the safety of people and properties while driving.
In Nigeria, reckless driving is considered an offence, it varies from over-speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, disobeying traffic laws, tailgating, using a phone while driving, failure to regard road signs and so on.
How do we reduce reckless driving in Nigeria?
Extra tax payment: Fines is one of the consequences of reckless driving. Unfortunately, one time fine doesn’t seem to deter reckless drivers from the act. An introduction of extra taxes for drivers convicted with reckless driving would be a feasible option. If reckless drivers are aware that they would pay extra taxes, they would be more responsible when wielding the steering; it would also scare potential reckless drivers away from the act.
Tariffs on alcohol sales: The availability of alcohol gives some drivers the chance to misbehave on roads. With less alcohol, there would be lesser drunk drivers. A total ban on alcohol sale might be cruel but an introduction of tariffs and taxes on the sale of alcohol could make it more expensive and less accessible for drivers.
Orientation: Constant reminder and sensitization of drivers through the media, seminars and campaigns against reckless driving are ways to reduce the menace in Nigeria.
Speed bumps: Since over speeding is one of the factors of reckless driving, it is important to build speed bumps on major Nigerian roads. Speed bumps are effective in keeping the speeds of vehicles down and also encourage safe driving.
Written by Salama Tanko