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Car Talk

Mar 27, 2024

The Nigeria Highway Code

Highway Codes comprise signs and symbols mounted or drawn on the roads or road sides, and they form important aspects of road descriptions....


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The Nigeria Highway Code is the Code of Conduct for human activities related to the open road in a technological age. Highway Codes comprise signs and symbols mounted or drawn on the roads or road sides, and they form important aspects of road descriptions.



 A road is a path established over land for the passage of vehicles, people, and animals. It provides dependable pathway for moving people and goods from one place to another.

​Rules for Road Use

  • The driver of a vehicle has only the protection guaranteed by his STRICT obedience to traffic rules.
  • The best protection inside the vehicle is the USE OF SEAT BELT. Always fasten your seatbelt and ensure that everyone in your vehicle belts up.
  • Never drive after consuming alcoholic drinks or while under the influence of drug. Maximum blood alcohol level for drivers is 0.5gms per litre or 0.05% of blood alcohol (BAC).
  • Take a break of 15 minutes after every four (4) hours of driving.
  • Do not rely on stay-awake drugs like coffee, kolanuts, and even chewing sticks.
  • Drivers are not to overload their vehicles with goods or passengers. Passengers stand very high risk of severe injury or death in overloaded vehicles. 

Drivers share the road with many other road users among whom are pedestrians and motorcyclists who are part of exposed road users. 

For pedestrians:

  • Use pavement or suitable foot paths where provided. 
  • Walk on the left side of the road facing on-coming traffic, where footpaths are not provided. 
  • While walking in the dark, wear or carry white, bright coloured or reflective clothing as you can be easily seen in them. 
  • While walking in a group, keep to the extreme right of the road, if at night, the person in front should wear a reflective clothing. 
  • Before you cross a road, stop, hold hands, look left, right and look left again. When the road is clear, walk directly and quickly across but keep looking out. Do not run because you may trip over and fall. 
  • You are to use pedestrian crossing, central islands, traffic lights, subways, or foot bridges where provided. Where they are not provided, step onto the road slowly, making sure you can see both ways clearly and that you can be seen.
  • Do not cross the road between or in front of parked vehicles because drivers on the road may not be able to see you. Cross the road near lighted area so that you can be seen especially if there is no convenient pedestrian crossing. 
  • You have NO right of way at a pedestrian crossing or Zebra Crossing until you have Stepped on it. Even then ensure no vehicle is coming. When you do, traffic should give way to you. Do your traffic drill before you start to cross, exercise caution

For motorcyclists:

  • Wear smart. bright colored clothing.
  • ​Avoid flowing and flimsy garments, and slippers as they are not particularly protective.
  • Protect your head with safety helmet, thick gloves and riding boots properly fastened even on short trips, as it increases your chances of surviving a crash.
  • Avoid staying where motorists may not see you.
  • Avoid that spot where you cannot make eye contact with the motorist. If you cannot see his eyes, he may not be able to see you.
  • Maximum speed limit for motorcycles in built up area is 50km/hr. Motorcycles under 50cc are not allowed on the highways and expressways.
  • Remember! Though your motor bike may be more flexible to maneuver and may speed like motor cars, you are more vulnerable and unprotected in case of a crash.

Drivers and Cyclists are urged to be careful near schools, churches, mosques, markets, snack shops, Ice Cream Stalls, Parks, Fruit trees, or street hawkers, because children are usually found in such places.

​What to do when travelling with children:

  • Children between the ages of 0-12 months should not ride in the front of the vehicle. This is for their safety. When children of given age groups are however carried on the front seat, they should ride facing the rear using child restraint. The child restraint should be attached, such that the child will face the rear of the seat.
  • Children from ages 1 to 7 should ride facing the front of the car in a child seat, strapped properly to the back seat.
  • Do not carry a child on your laps as he or she may be crushed between your body and the dash board if there is a crash.
  • Do not allow children to play with the handle of the doors or locks, use child lock where available.
  • Do not allow children to ride in the luggage area of hatchbacks, station wagons or vans.
  • Do not leave a hatchback open when a child is riding in the back seat.
  • It is against the law to transport children under age 16 at the back of a pickup van.
  • When transporting children. the elderly and physically challenged people, the driver must not be under the influence of alcohol/drugs.

Routine inspection for road-worthiness

Vehicle Inspection Requirements

  • Present vehicle at VIO's office (Vehicle Inspection Officer's office)
  • Pay the prescribed fee at MLA
  • The test shall focus on serviceability of the vehicle. the Chassis, Engine. Electrical parts, Transmission, Brake system and safety devices.
  • Inspection for road worthiness certificate is carried out and validity tag affixed to certificated vehicle.
  • It is repeated every 6 months for commercial vehicles and annually for other vehicles older than 4 years from the date of manufacture, except those of exempted bodies/organizations. Certain gadgets are expected to be carried in every vehicle at all times to meet the requirements of the law. These include:

1.     Warning triangle (c-caution)

2.     Fire extinguisher

3.     Jack

4.     Spare tire

5.     First Aid kit

6.     Wheel spanner

7.     Water

8.     Hydraulic

9.     Transmission fluid

10. Torch light

11. Spare fan belt



1.   U-turns

You may make U-turns, unless road traffic signals indicate otherwise, at controlled intersections when you are given right of way to turn left. Note: Whenever you have cause to turn round, it is safer to keep moving forward, turn left or right at a suitable place and reenter the desired traffic.

You must not make U-turns at or near the following places

·        Crest or brow of a hill

·        Bends or corners

·        Where a NO U-TURN SIGN is pasted.

·        Busy streets, highways or expressways

·        Any place where other drivers cannot see your vehicle from at least 120 meters


2.    Three-point turn

The three-point turn (four-step maneuvers) is mandatory for U-turn on any narrow road where this is permitted. The steps are shown below: I: Move to the extreme right edge of the road and stop. Turn your wheels fully to the left. II: Check traffic from behind and front When it is safe, signal left, and then move out to take a full turn to the left towards the opposite side. Remember the LOOK, SIGNAL, MOVE routine. III: Look out for traffic again and turn your wheels to the maximum right, if it is safe, signal right, and then reverse, keeping as close as you can to the right edge of the road. If it is necessary you must give priority to traffic, and then reverse. IV: Check traffic again Do not forget, you must give priority if it is necessary Turn your wheels properly, then reenter traffic in the opposite direction.

3.     Parking rules

You must not park wherever you see NO PARKING sign. You must not park wherever your vehicle will obstruct the views of other road users or constitute danger to them, for instance at or near:

  • Road junction
  • Bends or corners
  • Brow or crest of a hill
  • Narrow bridge
  • Level crossing
  • Bus stop
  • Pedestrians crossing, or on either side of a crossing
  • School entrance or other entrances
  • Footpath, pavement or cycle path
  • The left-hand side of the road at night (except in a one-way street)

Do not park your vehicle to block or within 15 meters of entrances through which emergency vehicles go in and out, that is, near the entrance of:

  • Hospitals
  • Roadside clinics
  • Road Safety Stations
  • Fire Stations
  • Fire hydrants
  • Police stations
  • Market

4.     Overtaking rules

Do not overtake unless you are sure it is safe for you and other road users. Before you start to overtake make sure that the road is clear ahead and behind. Look out properly. Use your mirrors and glance behind you to see the blind spots. You must signal before you start to move out. Be particularly careful at dusty and in misty environment or bad weather when it is more difficult to judge speed and distance. Do not overtake at or when coming to:

  • A pedestrian crossing, a bus station, a road junction, a corner or bend, a narrow bridge and where the road narrows.
  • A level crossing; the crest of a hill, when to do so would force another vehicle to swerve or brake suddenly.
  • If you would have to cross double solid white lines.
  • If the solid line of the center lines is nearer you.
  • When you see a 'NO OVERTAKING' sign

 5.  Lane discipline

 After joining the highway, stay on the inside lane long enough to get used to the speed or traffic before trying to overtake.

I.   Two Lanes          

​Drive in the red-light hand lane on a two-lane carriageway, except when overtaking.

II.   Three Lanes

On a three-lane carriageway you must stay in the middle lane when traffic is slower on the inside lane, but you should return to the inside lane when you have passed them. The outside lane is for overtaking only. If you use it always move back into the middle lane and then into the inside lane as soon as you can, but without cutting in. Failure to observe this rule may lead to multiple accidents.

III.   ​Warning signals

When you come into expressways which have flashing amber light signal at their entrances or intervals, the lights warn of danger ahead. For example, an accident, mist or risk of skidding. When lights are flashing, keep your speed under 50 kmph. When you see the danger sign, slow down still further to a crawl if need be. Do not exceed 50 kmph.


Responsibilities in the event of road crash

 Owners Responsibility in the event of road crash:

  • Stop at the scene of the crash
  • Check if you are hurt
  • Check if anybody is hurt
  • If not hurt, leave the epicenter of the crash to a safe location, summon courage and assist others
  • State the fact of the case if asked by law enforcement agents
  • Get skid marks, other identification and photographs
  • Contact your insurer and lawyer
  • Report the crash to the nearest FRSC Office or phone 0700-2255-3772
  • If hurt but can talk, explain where it hurts to the first Aider
  • Cooperate with first Aider


  • Stop to help at every traffic crash scene
  • By-standers are to cooperate with first Aider
  • Do not compound the pain of the victim with your expressed emotion
  • Help to clear obstructions
  • Do not constitute obstructions



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