This consists of a detailed list of considerations to be used in negotiating a set of
road standards in an environment. This includes the following:
1. Resource management objectives: These indicate the reasons and
purpose a particular road should be built in a particular area. For instance,
it may have to do with the economic benefits derivable in such an area
when the expected road is constructed e.g. access to rural community for
easy transportation of agricultural produce.
2. Physical environmental factors: The topographic, climatic, soil and
vegetative characteristics of an area, the physical features of the land as
well as the type of road to be constructed and so on must be determined if
a road must be built in that area or not.
3. Environmental limitations: There are social-political limitations e.g.
erosiveness of soils, difficult geologic conditions, high rainfall. Others
include land ownership boundaries, state of the local economy and the
public opinion about the given project.
4. Traffic requirements: The average daily traffic should be estimated for
different user groups and the traffic volume will also determine the kind of
road needed in such an area.
5. Traffic service level
Category: road transport
The volume of traffic in an area is often considered in determining the road
designs in such an area. However, such factors usually include the following:
1. Number of lanes
2. Turnout spacing
3. Lane widths
4. Type of driving surface
5. Sight distances
6. Design speed
8. Horizontal and vertical alignments
9. Curve widening
10. Turn around
Oftentimes, one may wonder why some motorists, especially the commercial
ones, choose to ply a particular route to carry out their daily activities, as if there
are no other routes for them to use. There are reasons why motorists will choose
and not to choose a particular route for the same journey. Hence, the saying
“there is no smoke without fire.” Also, most of their reasons are for their better
advantage. Following are the reasons why drivers choose a particular route for
1. Speed: This is the rate at which a vehicle travels. Most drivers like to drive
their vehicle at a particular speed convenient and safer for them.
2. Travel time: The time at which a driver, mostly a commercial driver, uses to
complete a particular journey matters a lot. The route that is full of
different obstructions that may cause unnecessary delay, thereby
increasing the driver’s travel time will not encourage many motorists to ply
such a route.
3. Traffic interruption: Anything that interrupts will discourage the motorists
to continue to ply such a route if there is a better alternative.
4. Freedom to maneuver: Drivers will prefer a wide route that will enable
them to move their cars easily and carefully probably to overtake or to
avoid accidents. Therefore, a road that is very tiny or narrow to maneuver
will discourage them.
5. Safety: A road must be free enough from any form of danger, otherwise
both the drivers and the passengers would be discouraged to travel on such
6. Driver’s comfort: When a driver travels on a long journey and throughout
the journey he feels less worry and more importantly, he feels safe
travelling on such a road, undeniably he will be eager to travel again on the
7. Convenience: When you drive on a good road, the time and the stress you
would have encountered if you are on a bad road would be reduced.
8. Operating cost: Every transport service provider is expected to have
practical and economical mindset to manage his business. He must be able
to choose the routes that are cost-effective for his business.
9. Business orientation: No commercial vehicle driver will hesitate to travel
on a route where he can easily get goods and passengers to carry. Since his
business is to carry goods and passengers for economic gain, then it will be
unwise of him to abandon a route where his desire can be met.
10. Inevitable route: Every motorist going to their offices and houses will have
no choice but to pass through the road that leads to their houses and
Sitting on the driver’s seat for the first time to drive the vehicle alone may excite a new driver but it’s not an easy task for him. Such a new driver is likely to be nervous and fearful while driving.Also, such a driver is likely to be over conscious not to hit any object or being hit by other drivers. These, among others, are the predictable misbehavior of new drivers.However, below are the common mistakes of a typical new driver on the road:
- Inferiority Complex: Often times, they drive under pressure. Why? It is because they think other experienced drivers on the road are better than they are.Hence, consciously or unconsciously, they become anxious to the point of making several mistakes while driving.
- Panic or fear:At times, they feel they are very conscious while driving but in the real sense, they are panicky.As a result, often times, you see them stopping suddenly on the road causing unnecessary traffic delays.
- Poor understanding of the Traffic rules and Regulations: One of the qualities of a good professional driver is the ability to interpret and understand the traffic rules and regulations. In fact, they are one of the ways to drive safe on the road.The difference between a driver and a man who moves the vehicle on the public road is proper understanding of the traffic rules and regulations.
- Poor Routine Checks: Failure to carry out daily routine checks such as engine oil, brake oil, battery terminal, light operations to mention but a few, before driving behind the wheel is part of typical new drivers’ mistakes.
- Lack of Basic safety information: This is common to those that did not attend a driving school before starting to move the vehicle on the road.They lack safety information to make the road safe such as why they need to equip their vehicle with a functional horn; when and how to join the road; when to brake and accelerate and so on.
- Poor Reverse: New drivers often find it difficult, if not impossible, to reverse the vehicle easily without being assisted, otherwise they hit their vehicles on any object behind them.
- Failure to keep proper distance from the vehicle in front while driving
- Sometimes new drivers forget to use the traffic indicator lights when turning or moving out of the lane.
- Failure to use inner mirror when necessary.
- In a bid to avoid the danger of being involved in an accident, some new drivers tend to drive too slowly for the road condition, which thereby affects the easy flow of traffic.
In the African countries, mostly in the rural areas that are isolated by distance and difficult terrains, there is a tendency for an increase in the population of poor people. Often times, poverty comes as a result of poor or lack of transport infrastructure, such as rail, bridges and good roads that make it difficult, if not impossible for people in rural areas to access economic opportunities, marketplace, health care and education facilities. In fact, the aged and the disabled people extremely suffer for mobility.
In rural areas, roads and waterways are the most common means that connect different rural communities to market places and other economic opportunities; hence, proper attention must be given to them i.e. (roads and waterways) why? It’s because of the benefits and potentialities they have to reduce the extreme poverty in the African’s rural areas.
However, an improved mobility through transport investments and infrastructure are the important factors of developments with positive economic and social benefits. Truly speaking, adequate transport investments and infrastructure in African rural areas will eliminate hunger, improve education, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and so on.
Many communities in rural areas in African countries engage in agriculture for their income generation. However, two of the ways to improve agricultural production in rural communities in Africa that will provide economic justification for their different countries are good transportation and transport infrastructure that will enhance easy mobility.
Nevertheless, most of the African’s poor population is living in rural communities that are isolated by distance and difficult terrains from markets, healthcare, education, employment, and other economic opportunities, causing extreme poverty for the people and low agricultural production. However, the major solutions to poverty in rural communities in African rural areas are good transport infrastructure and transport investments in rural communities.
Therefore, the transport national authorities in the African countries are expected to ensure that adequate resources are allocated for the construction and maintenance of rural roads and road infrastructure.
There are many causes of road accidents involving haulage trucks and tanker trucks in Nigeria but one of the major causes is poor safety attitude of the truck owners and truck drivers towards road safety. Road transport system, as it were, is an important element in economic growth. Surprisingly, it is also a great problem that affects the growth of the economy of a nation and the lives of the citizens at large.
For instance, in 2006 to 2013, 41,118 deaths were recorded in Nigeria from road accidents. Source: FRSC. In addition, in 2014, World Health Organization (WHO) showed that Nigeria had the highest road fatalities with 33,700 out of every 100,000 segments every year.
Without any iota of doubt, road transport is an indispensable element; yet it is a great problem that is fast depleting human resources.
However, in the world today, there are several reasons or causes of road traffic crashes involving haulage and tanker trucks that may appear not to be a direct mistake or fault of the truck drivers.
However, in Nigeria there are common notable causes of road traffic crashes involving haulage trucks. They are common events mostly identified by FRSC that give rise to large truck crashes on Nigerian roads. These are:
- Dangerous driving and reckless or careless driving.
- Over speeding
- Tyre burst/violation
- Brake failure
- Overloading violation
- Undue transportation business- driven factor
Dangerous and reckless driving
Reckless or careless driving is a notable cause of road accidents. This is said to occur when truck drivers drive on the roads without reasonable consideration for other road users, most especially car drivers or drivers of smaller vehicles.
Dangerous driving, on the other hands, simply means an act of a motorist that leads to a fatal or serious accident. In other words, it is unsafe driving of a motorist that leads to the death of other road users. The simple difference between dangerous driving and reckless driving is that dangerous driving actually leads to an accident while reckless driving is a bid for an accident to occur.
A truck driver is said to drive dangerously when the way he drives is totally different from what should be expected from a complete careful driver and such an act must be clearly noticeable to other motorists that the way such trucker or driver drives on the road is highly dangerous to other motorists.
However, there are some avoidable acts which are rampant among truck drivers in Nigeria and which can easily lead to dangerous driving. These include:
- Driving too fast for road condition.
- Driving aggressively.
- Lack of good understanding of simple road signs and traffic rules
- Dangerous overtaking
- Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Driving at a time when there is need to rest, most especially during festive periods.
- Distraction in any form while driving.
Nevertheless, the statistics given by FRSC shows that 1,767 haulage and tanker trucks were involved in road accidents in 2009. The said statistics also shows that 1,085 people died while 3,714 people were seriously injured from the said accidents.
It is worthy of note that out of 1,767 road traffic crashes involving haulage trucks and tanker drivers in 2009, 292 accidents were caused by dangerous driving of truck drivers.
Going by FRSC statistics, it is obvious that from January to June 2010, a total number of 1,427 haulage and tanker trucks were involved in road accidents out of which Nigeria recorded 965 deaths while 3,220 people were seriously injured. The given statistics also shows that out of the said accidents, 265 accidents were related to speed violation.
Another unwanted act that can necessitate road traffic accidents in Nigeria is over speeding. It is not only motorists with smaller vehicles that do over speed on our public roads. Observations from individuals and organizations also show that haulage and tanker drivers also showcase their speed on the highway especially when the trucks are empty.
According to the U.S Census Bureau “in 2008, there were 37, 261 speed related traffic fatalities in U.S” Sources The Pulse.
Going by the given statistics, it becomes clear that over speed is a serious common problem in road transportation that needs an urgent attention not only in the developing countries but also in the developed countries.
Over speeding is an act or instance where a motorist deliberately decides to move his vehicle faster than what it is allowed by law. However, beyond this scope of definition, I see over speeding as an act of someone or motorist who moves the vehicle too fast for the road condition.
Tyre burst / violation
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U. S between 2009 and 2013, there were over 19,000 fatal crashes in the U.S involving heavy trucks and buses which killed almost 16,000 people. It is noted that tyres were a factor in 198 of these crashes and caused the death of 223 people.
From the above paragraph, it is clearly noticeable that road traffic accidents involving haulage and tanker trucks are also caused by tyre burst or tyre safety violation. It is important to note that tyres are designed in relation to a particular recommended speed by the manufacturer. Many truckers are ignorant of this fact; hence, they run their trucks at a speed above the recommended speed by the manufacturer. This may reduce the life expectancy of the tyre. Truly speaking, many truckers lack the necessary information on the tyres that carry them around.
For instance, in 2012, Vistal Press and Distribution Logistics Limited, a company, in Nigeria, in collaboration with Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), carried out an exercise at some motor parks to know if motorists comply with manufacturer’s recommended tyre air pressures. However, the result of the exercise showed that many of the motorists in Nigeria did not even know that their vehicles had any manufacturer’s recommended safety air pressures. Hence, they allow the roadside vulcanizers to determine their vehicle air pressures for them who are equally clueless about such information.
The manufacturer’s recommended safety air pressures are very important because it is the air pressure inside the tyre that actually supports or carries the weight or the load on the vehicle not the black round shape object around the wheel. Tyres are made primarily to contain compressed air pressures needed to carry the weight on the vehicle around.
Another important aspect to emphasize is the matching air pressures for dual assemble tyres. If one of the dual assemble tyres is inflated greater than the other tyre, probably by ‘4 psi or 6 psi’, the implication is that the tyre with greater compressed air pressure will be larger in terms of perimeter or circumference, therefore bearing the weight or the load alone. The result of this is that it will reduce the life expectancy of the tyre with greater air pressure. why? It is because the tyre with less air pressure will not have proper traction on the road.
Furthermore, in 2008, 1,655 haulage and tanker trucks were involved in road accidents in which 1,221 lives were lost while 3,891 people sustained various degrees of injury. The statistics showed that in the said road traffic accidents which involved 1,655 trucks, 108 of them were caused by tyre burst / violation. Source: FRSC.
Nonetheless, there are three most notable reasons why good maintenance of your tyre matters most in road transportation. They are highlighted as follows:
- It is in the best interest of your safety and that of others.
- It increases the life span of the tyres in your vehicle.
- It increases the fuel economy.
Road accidents, in Nigeria, in 2009, involving haulage and tanker trucks were 1,767 accidents. However, out of the given figures i.e (1,767 accidents), 106 accidents were identified as obstructions related accidents. Source: FRSC.
An obstruction, as it were, is any object or anything that affects or hinders the free flow of traffic. With this simple understanding, it implies that obstructions to traffic on road may occur or appear in different forms. Hence, following are the forms of obstructions to road traffic:
- Vehicles involving in a road accident.
- Breaking down of vehicles in the middle of the road.
- Unconventional road signs: it is a common practice among some motorists in Nigeria, seeing them putting weeds behind their broken down vehicles as a sign of caution but when their vehicles are fixed up later, they quickly drive away the vehicles leaving the weeds on the roads. This is an eye sore on public roads.
- Any object that falls on the road. e.g trees, electricity poles etc.
- Unauthorized vendors and traders encroaching on the road.
- A lunatic or an animal e.g. cow, walking in the middle of the road.
- Pothole: you can imagine an over loaded truck driver in a bid to evade potholes, such a vehicle may pose a serious danger to other road users.
- Refuse dumped on the road:
However, in some advanced nations, there are agencies with responsibility to ensure that the public road network is free from obstructions and it is also a punishable offence under the law if one is found guilty e.g in the U.S; North Ireland; etc. So, this will show to you that any of the obstructions is a serious problem that can make the public road unsafe to road users.
Brake failure and overloading violation
Brake failure is one of the major causes of accidents involving large and tanker trucks in Nigeria.
From January to June 2010, 1, 427 trucks were said to be involved in road traffic crashes (RTC) and 3,220 people were injured while 965 people were killed in just 6 months due to brake failure and overloading violation.
Brake failure can simply be caused by negligence on the part of the trucker and faulty installation.
Overloading, on the other hand, is when a truck is used to carry load that exceeds its original capacity; such a truck is prone to accidents. Let us imagine a driver of an overloaded heavy truck in a bid to evade one pothole and the other on the highway. Such a truck may pose a serious danger to other road users.
Moreover, overloading can cause the brake system of a truck to work harder and then get hotter than necessary. Consequently, these may lead to poor braking performance. It is also important to let you know that a typical articulated vehicle has nothing less than 10 brakes to work with and if any of these brakes loses its braking power, probably due to overloading of the truck or brake mis-adjustment or faulty installation, the brake load will be automatically transferred to the remaining brakes which consequently makes them to over work and with time, this may lead to a complete brake failure. If the brake of an overloaded truck on a sloppy highway suddenly loses its stopping power due to overloading, it is only God that can arrest the motion of such an overloaded truck. Truck overloading is dangerous and it is one the notable factors identified by FRSC as accounting for truck accidents and deaths on Nigerian roads.
Undue Transport Business-driven factor
It is important to note that some haulage transport company or truck owners allow their drivers to over work, most especially when there’s a rise in transport demand. It is obvious that there’s always an increase in transport demand during any festive period in Nigeria and this explains why there is a high rate of road accidents at such a time. For instance, in 2016, during an Easter break, Nigeria recorded 98 crashes and 77 deaths in road accidents. Source: FRSC Boss.
When there is a high demand for transport, what some transport companies or truck owners do in order to meet the demand is to increase the allowances for their drivers. Hence, those drivers who erroneously assume they are the most hit by the present economic situations in the country agree to go for as many trips as possible so as to make more money without such drivers having adequate rest and planning before embarking on their next trips. Consequently, you see many of them on the road driving for more than 16 hours without rest. Such truck drivers are always impatient on the road rushing to make more money.
When you allow a man to over work, this may lead to fatigue and sleeplessness. One can imagine the risks that may be involved when a truck driver suddenly falls asleep behind the wheel.
It is needless to say that journeys with longer durations must be carefully organized and planned for safety purpose.
Nevertheless, all the mentioned causes of road accidents involving haulage and tanker trucks in Nigeria can be traced to human factor. Therefore, they are avoidable accidents if all motorists and other road users can rise up to the task of making the road safer. Definitely, the high rate of road accidents involving haulage and tanker trucks will drastically reduce and consequently, the high rate of deaths and injuries usually sustained by victims will also be reduced. It is always good to be safety conscious.