Road signs in Nigeria; all you need to know

Some times ago in my junior secondary school, our Civic education teacher said “remember not to run from the vehicle; the vehicle will run from you” It seemed so crazy at that time, and  I was beginning to see him as a liar, it took years before I understood and believed him.

Roadsigns stand to protect the road users from accidents, and if they did occur, to know which user is at fault. Quite unfortunate, those who know their right and roadsigns abuse it, and those who don’t know disobey the law and fall victim every day.

What are road signs?

Also called traffic signs, they are important symbols, through their shapes and color convey relevant information to road users aimed at maintaining smooth land transportation.

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To be handy with your road signs, you need to know them in terms of colors and shapes.


  • Color plays a vital role in road signs. It alerts the mind and most times convey the information before the symbol is understood.
  • Red can mean stop. It is also for prohibitory and yield signs.
  • Green means go or permission to move, especially in traffic lights.
  • White shows that it’s a regulatory sign.
  • Yellow makes the mind alert or indicates a warning road sign.
  • Black mostly goes along with yellow in warning signs or might as well be regulatory.
  • Blue is used for mandatory signs and in giving direction.
  • Orange is used to indicate temporal traffic situations.
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  • The upside triangle is for yield signs.
  • The circle is for advanced warning or notification of rare situations.
  • Octagon is mostly for stop signs.
  • Pentagon shows a passing zone, maybe school, church, and so on.
  • Diamond draws attention to the warning or information.
  • A rectangle is used in guidance and giving direction.
  • A trapezoid is for recreational interest.

Importance of Road Signs

For a populated country like Nigeria, there will be a high level of chaos in the cities without these road signs. There are so many reasons for road signs are in Nigeria.

  1. Safety measures: to prevent a problem is easy compared to solving it. Road signs help guard the road users to avoid accidents.
  2. Information medium: No one can render the humanitarian service of standing on the road to inform the driver of a sharp bending in front, a bump before, or any other dangerous situation awaiting whom to devour. Only road signs can pass this information without being tired or paid.
  3. Tranquil cities: Imagine there are no traffic lights in Lagos to regulate who moves first in a roundabout turn; there will be a problem, vehicles get to hit themselves and causing fights and chaos in the city. Even traffic maintenance agencies get to spot defaulters easily at the areas with Roadsigns in a bid to maintain tranquility in the city.
nigeria road signs with meaning
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Classification of Road Signs in Nigeria

  1. Prohibitory signs: This category of roadsigns does not plead but tells you what you must not do. If you fail, you might face punishment. Examples are the “STOP” sign, ” NO PARKING” sign, and so on.
  2. Informative signs: Informative signs give you the most required information at a point. Informative signs tell you of a school ahead to slow down and avoid hitting school children. It also informs you of a hospital ahead, a filling station in front, or even what miles, kilometers, or direction to a place. Informative signs are easy to understand. It is either an arrow or a drawing of what you’ll see ahead.
  3. Regulatory signs: These signs guide you and ensure order, for instance, the traffic light. You must obey the traffic light to be safe. Regulatory signs remind you of your speed limit
  4. Warning signs: It warms you against dangers. Warning signs give you information about situations you may need to be careful about to avoid an accident. Such road signs include; Slippery road, Line merge ahead, Steep ascent, Road work, Bridge road sign, Hump ahead, and so on.
  5. Mandatory signs: As prohibitory signs tell you what you must not do, mandatory signs tell you what you must do but in a milder form.
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Nigeria road traffic signs and meaning

road-signs and meaning


What does the Nigerian traffic agency have to say about road signs?

There are so many agencies set by the Nigerian government to take care of road issues and to punish disobedient road users. The most important agency is the Federal Road Safety Corps( FRSC).

Disobeying the road signs can be so detrimental to you more than the federal government or passerby. When you ignore a warning sign, you may end up with an accidental may be fatal at worse.

Remember, Section 20 of the Federal Road Safety Commission act provides that “A person who causes the death of another person by driving of a motor vehicle on a high way dangerously or recklessly shall be guilty of an offense and be liable to conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years”.

Reckless driving could mean ignoring road signs, and if an accident occurs in that process, the consequences await you. Disobeying the mandatory signs may attract the agencies to you, and you may have to pay a fine or serve some other punishment.

Visiting Nigeria for the first time, how do I stay off trouble while in traffic?

Nigeria is a very populated country. Cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Benin and so on have lots of people in them, so you must be careful to stay safe and avoid causing an accident. There are few things you should always do to be safe, and they are;

  1. Try not to take your eyes off the road signs and traffic lights.
  2. Have your traffic sign handbook to help check up the meanings of confusing signs.
  3. Make sure you have your vehicle papers and driving license.
  4. Avoid drinking, smoking, or playing loud music in the car.
  5. Ensure your vehicle is in good health to avoid breakdown, noise pollution, and air pollution.
  6. Never forget to fasten your seat belt.
  7. Pull up at checkpoints if you’re required to do so.
  8. Obey the traffic agencies and security officers.
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Wrapping up

Before now, you pass road signs without knowing the meaning but not anymore. As a good citizen, you must take part in the maintenance of peace and order in society. By obeying all traffic rules and signs, that dream comes to pass.

About mitrobe

NGSUP is a Digital tech company that amplifies the best innovations out of the internet through its Education, resources, signals, Investment advise, data, News, events and tech focused platforms. NGSUP Network Connects everyone and anything to a system of endless possibilities.

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