September to December have a terrible reputation in Nigeria for being a chaotic season for road accidents. The belief has a devilish reputation, where some members of society believe “the roads are hungry for blood’.
Many people believe this is because of the increased road trips during ember months and a look at data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statics 2014 – 2019 had the following insights:
- For the years under review, Ember months account for at least 30% of road crashes in Nigeria.
- Road accidents in Nigeria that occur in December and January are always more severe than the monthly average.
- January, December and April tend to feature in the top 3 months for road crashes in Nigeria.
At the recent flag-off of the 2021 ‘Ember’ months campaign in Onitsha by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Sector Commander in Anambra Adeoye Irelewuyi said that “drivers’ impatience and human errors cause the high number of accidents recorded during the ‘Ember’ months”.
To avoid the “You don hit my car, Oyinbo repete” situation according to the lyrics of the great Nigerian hit by Tony Tetuila, let us take a look at ember months driving tips to keep yourself and your family safe.
Service Your Vehicle: Before you embark on an ember month trip with your car, service your vehicle and ensure proper checks like brake, tires, oil and brake fluid, among other general car maintenance, are done and optimised for long trips. Families travelling in groups especially would hire a bus service, it’s always important to ask and confirm that your rental company provides a car that has been pre-checked to be in excellent condition for the road trip.
Safe Driving Distance: The 3-second rule driving distance states you should allow 3 seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of you. It gives your time to react to problems in the lane ahead of you. If you are travelling on Nigerian roads, making a 5-10 seconds rule would make sense if you put road conditions across the country during the ember months travel. Always keep a safe driving distance to ensure you better response time to any condition during your trip.
Overloading and Speeding: Overloading is usually prevalent during ember months periods because of bags of rice and several items people move with during their trip. eCommerce and courier services now mean you don’t have to buy everything in the city to travel home for festivities.
If you must, and it would lead to overloading, courier these items well ahead of time. It would reduce the burden and stress of your journey. If you are driving or being driven, don’t speed, your loved ones are waiting to see you arrive safely.
Night Travels: It is advisable to avoid Night travel during the ember months or even other months in Nigeria. Travellers will have to deal with the state of roads, insecurity and lack of access to emergency services if there is a need for one. If you must travel at night, you should consider having a security detail, a vehicle in excellent working condition and a driver with good knowledge of your travel route.
Distracted Driving and Alcoholism: Distracted driving is proven a significant cause of accidents globally. Avoid the use of mobile phones, conversations, eating while driving that would distract you while driving. Alcohol also makes you less responsive to taking action, avoiding all forms of intoxicants when driving.
The goal is always to travel and arrive safely at your destination with these ember months driving tips. Whether you are driving or being driven, you can play a role in ensuring accountability for yourself or your driver. We wish you safe travels this season and fewer accidents on our roads. Happy holiday road travels from all of us at Octamile.