How roads without signs pose danger to motorists

Apple Junction, FESTAC Town, Lagos without ruad signs

Lack of road signs in some major locations constitutes hazard to city dwellers, especially at night, as well as traffic jams.

In some locations where road signs exist, they are not conspicuously placed for motorists and other road users to see. This has added to traffic challenges in Lagos, especially for visitors.

To Henry Udoma, a volunteer with the Lagos State Neighbourhood Watch, the situation shows insensitivity, as vehicles have sometimes rammed into one another as a result. He observed that traffic officers, including the police, see this as not favourable to motorists, who unknowingly use roads designated one-way when there are no signs showing so. And even when there are signs, they are usually tucked away in a corner, where they are difficult to see or read.

Udoma noted that with road signs and functional traffic lights in their right places, logjams often experienced on major roads would lessen. “Road maintenance goes beyond just digging up of roads and culverts. Government should do something about road signs, too. They should be reflective, so that road users can see them during the day and at night. The way our roads are constructed without the right signs shows our state of mind as a people,” he said.

Boye Bamidele, a public servant, said absence of road signs has contributed to road mishaps in the metropolis. He noted that signs tell drivers where there are sharp corners, bumps, schools and hospital, so that they could slow down.

He narrated his experience when he collided with a vehicle at the just finished road in front of Osborne Foreshore Estate, adding that if there had been a road sign warning him about the sharp corner and which side of the road to keep when entering the major way, that accident would not have happened.

Bamidele wondered why government would spend huge sums of money to rehabilitate roads only to leave out such important aspect that would make driving easy and save lives.

To him, traffic officers are not helping matters, as they usually lie in wait for motorists to take the wrong road and then suddenly jump out of their hiding to make an arrest.

He said: “With bold, reflective and clearly defined road signs, the regular traffic jams often experienced on our roads, especially at the junctions, as well as traffic offences often committed by motorists would be reduced to its barest minimum, as motorists would not need to take the wrong routes or lanes. The current situation enables people to behave anyhow, as there are no clears signs to tell that a road is one-way, blocked junctions ahead, detour and uneven, among others.

“Lack of signs on Lagos roads remains a challenge to motorists and commuters, especially those not familiar with them. This has made many to be arrested for breaking traffic laws, which ordinarily would have been avoided.

Saheed Fagbemi, a taxi driver, said the situation has reached a point where people in his profession have to put all their skills to bear when driving.

He said: “The road designated as one way in the morning could be changed later in the day. So, you have to be at alert all the time, or else you could be arrested many times in a day. It is even worse at night, as many major roads are poorly lit. For instance, the Muritala Mohammed International Airport Road, where major construction work is ongoing has no clear signs to warn commuters of dangers and diversions and sometimes drivers unknowingly run into the boulders at night because they are not reflective.

“Road signs prevent confusion as they tell drivers the appropriate speed to drive on a particular road or when they are approaching a merge. They help reduce collisions at intersections, ensure pedestrians’ safety, as well as help drivers communicate with other drivers in a non-verbal way that keeps all of us safe. They are a must on our roads.”

For Akiwunmi Oriola, an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), the situation is pathetic and sometimes confusing. He noted that during the last Yuletide, some motorists used the opportunity to break traffic laws with impunity.

He said: “Although we cannot rule out the fact that there are no traffic signs in some key areas, but we must acknowledge that these signs exist in some other areas, even though they are hidden in a corner. No road, no matter how good it might be is complete without good, visible and readable road signs.”

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