Road Signs in Nigeria – Everything You Need to Know


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Road Signs in Nigeria – Everything You Need to Know

There are hundreds of road signs in Nigeria, so how can you remember all of them? This article below will group the signs in different categories with the most obvious symbols to achieve.


Bored by road signs in Nigeria? Does the sign with an arrow pointing to the left mean that I can turn left or turn left? Why are there different shapes and colors? Well, it’s understandable that you’re baffled by these signs. Do not worry, it’s not as complicated as you might think once you finish this article.

1. What is traffic signal?

Practically, in simple terms, traffic lights are symbolized, illustrative tips for road users for safer and more convenient travel. It does not matter whether you’re driving a car, cycling or walking, it’s mandatory that you adhere to all the traffic lights in Nigeria, as they are certainly not urban design designers. They are not there for your reference either. They are born to stay and conform.

2. Road traffic signs in Nigeria

Given our high rate of traffic accidents, you may be surprised to find that road signs in Nigeria cover all the indications you need afterwards, be they traffic regulations, special hazards and other road conditions, or speed restrictions in construction areas.

Types of road signs

This may seem infinite with respect to the road symbols used in Nigeria, but in reality we can classify them into 3 main types of road signs according to their main purposes. Many of these traffic signals are influenced by international traffic sign regulations, including the United States MUTCD (Uniform Traffic Control Device Manual).

a pile of road signs

The first and basic symbols you must follow are the regulatory symbols that could be prohibitive or indicate the direction to follow. If you refuse to follow these rules, our respectful policemen will certainly ask you a heavy fine.

Then come the warning signs reminding you of the dangers of the road. Neglecting these nice reminders means that you ignore your own life.

Finally, markings are informative signs that inform vehicles of specific places, road conditions, sites or speed limits. No one will punish you for not paying attention to these signals, but you could lose all day looking for a place instead of referring to these signs.

3. List of road signs and their meanings

3.1. Regulatory traffic signs: the must-obey

Regulatory traffic signs are to control the traffic flow as well as ensure the road safety. Strictly follow these orders and you can save either your life or money.

Usually, these signs are designed in circular shape, divided into 2 types with distinctive features that are easy to spot.

3.1.1. Don’t you dare? – Prohibitory signs

Of course, these signs prohibit you from doing anything. Prohibition signs are mainly circles, painted in red and yellow colors. Usually, forbidden objects are written in the center by a diagonal line crossing them.

Below are typical road signals with names you probably encounter:

prohibitory road signs in nigeria

Prohibitory symbols as on stop signs are easy to spot

Can you deduce the rules in designing these traffic signs and symbols? Easy, isn’t it?

Now, take a look at these road sign photos without getting the meaning out of them, and see for yourself how many prohibition signs you can determine! As we will give the correct answers right after, remember to fly over the picture until you have finished naming all these symbols.

Nigerian prohibitory sign collection

Can you name all of these prohibitions?

Congratulations, you’ve completed the challenge! Below are the correct answers:

Number 1. Stop at intersection

Number 2. No entry for vehicles having axle load exceeding 8 metric tonnes

Number 3. No horn

Number 4. Close to all vehicles in both directions

Number 5. Stop police

Number 6. No entry for vehicles having overall width exceeding 2m

Number 7. Speed limit (maximum)

Number 8. No entry for pedal cycles

Number 9. No left turn

Number 10. No entry for lorries

Number 11. Destruction sign

Number 12. No entry for all vehicles

Number 13. Parking prohibited (from 8:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m)

Number 14. No stopping

Number 15. Litter prohibited

3.1.2. Mandatory road signs

Still in circular shape but covered in blue background without perimeter are mandatory road signs which typically give directions. The directions are usually noted in white.

As you may see below, all the directions are straight-forward and easy to understand.

Mandatory road signs in Nigeria

Direction street signs look much more friendly than prohibitory category

3.2. Informative road signs

As their name implies, these Nigerian road signs provide useful information about where you can search for a rest area, an airport, or just indicate the state of the roads and areas in front of you.

These markings are most variable in designs but often remaining uniform in rectangular shapes.

Pay close attention to their guidance to avoid time-consuming drive!

illustration of informative signs

Usually, informative signs will write down names of roads, objects or places…

Warning signs

Warning road signs – Most important road safety signs, are often placed in triangles with red borders. There is only one exception to the inverted triangular shape that forces pilots to yield the passage.

Since these warnings are of great importance to drivers, we will allow you to quickly navigate through the common signs whose names are noted below before checking your memory.

common warning signs in Nigeria

Warning signs are mostly painted in hot color to alert dangers

It’s high time to review what you’ve just read. We will just pick several typical warnings for a quick check.

Answers will be noted after the series of unnamed road signs.

a pedestrian crossing road sign

a slippery road sign

an uneven road sign

a double bend warning sign

What meanings do these sign convey?

3…2…1. Time’s up!

The first should be easy for all of you as it is one of the most basic road signs in all countries. It indicates the pedestrian crossing in front of you, so you are supposed to slow down and stop before the zebra line.

The second sign shows a car turning due to a wet road. Yes, it’s the warning for the slippery road ahead. By neglecting this advice, you and your car may lie in the street somewhere.

The third seems to be clear with instructions: “Reduce speed now” but the illustration above is not exactly a speed limit sign. This is the marking of uneven roads.

Finally, we come to the warning of dangerous double turn. However, this illustration can not even express the danger of some Nigerian roads like this:

bending roads in Nigerian mountain

A photo of curving roads on Obudu mountain in Nigeria

Our  Candid advice

Needless to say, you should note all these road signs in Nigeria and their meaning in your manual so you can check them every time you travel on the road. If you miss a regulatory sign and police officers call you, show them your roadster’s manual to at least prove your efforts to learn them, then promise not to leave the road again next time!


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