Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, estimated to have 200 Million people; just imagine the implications for road travelers. As the population grows there will be more competition for resources; more like the fight of the fittest. The rate of crime will increase if enough is not done in getting more security personnel to cater for the increased population growth.
Expectedly, people travel from one part of the country to another. Travel could be by road, air, rail or by water. We’ve had stories of how travelers were robbed of their valuables while in transit. One cannot avoid going out because there were reports of armed robbery or kidnapping.
In this article, we will be sharing specifically security tips for people who travel by road. These are more than 12 Million Lagos residence who ply the road daily and much more traveling to and from other states in Nigeria. Simply put, the road is the most used means of travel in Nigeria.
EVERYDAY SECURITY: 6 Security Tips for Road Travelers
Ensure Driver’s License, Vehicle Particulars And Documents Are Up To Date
One of the things criminals do is to exploit any form of delay or crisis to carry out their nefarious acts. A good example is a delay caused by traffic congestion. Barring any bad roads or accident, traffic is expected to be free and flowing.
Delay can also be caused by law enforcement officers. From time to time, road safety officers and vehicle inspection officers randomly flag down vehicles for inspection. These routine checks should normally not take more than 10 minutes, but when there are irregularities in vehicles particulars and documents, a delay will definitely be experienced.
If you have taken note, you will notice road safety and vehicle inspection officers don’t usually have live ammunition. Which makes them helpless when armed robbers start attack; they will also naturally flee from the area.
The important thing here is to ensure that your papers, including your driver’s license, are complete in order to avoid any delay in your travel.
Sometimes we can be in a hurry while traveling, but when stopped by law enforcement officers please cooperate with them and comply with road traffic rules and regulations.
Keep The Doors Locked, Windows Wound Up and Avoid Stopovers at Hawking Spots Along Expressways.
It is important you have your car doors locked when you are traveling, likewise, the windows should be winded up. We understand you will need some kind of ventilation when you are traveling especially if your vehicle does not have an Air Conditioning.
You could leave a little gap for air, but the gap shouldn’t be too wide that criminals can forcefully gain access into your vehicle. The habit of stopping over at hawking spot should be discouraged. If you must buy something, buy at a market or at the bus terminal because criminal sometimes disguise as hawkers. Be guided!
Keep it Simple
For a more secure travel experience, travelers need not attract undue attention. Be cautious in airing your views when there is an argument.
Some criminal deliberately start a quarrel or fight, to make you less aware of your environment. One could be provoked to react, but we always advise anyone who wants to be secure to show some self-restraint.
If you happen to be at the end of an argument, people will naturally come around you to see if they can mediate. Before you know it, you have a lot of people around – which presents the criminals with an opportunity to carry out their agenda.
You will be doing yourself a lot of good by keeping away from troubles, some of them are planned! Like we use to say here: “Mind your business.”
Travel When It’s Daytime
Criminals always look for the best time of the day to carry out their activities. They look for a time when they have a better chance of not getting caught by the security guards or law enforcement officers. Hence they exploit the early hours and late hours of the day.
Traveling very early or at night may expose you to crime. If you must travel for days, say you are traveling from Lagos to Maiduguri. This could take 2-3 days if you are traveling by road, do well to have stopovers at an urban area, avoid quiet and deserted areas.
Traveling during the day also gives some allowance to fix any challenge you might encounter during your travels. For instance, vehicles could break down; you will need some time to fix it. And if it is something you can’t fix, you can as well quickly get a mechanic in the vicinity where the vehicle broke down.
This is something you won’t be able to do if you travel at night!
Good Samaritan: Do not stop and pick strangers on the highways – including uniform personnel.
It’s not wrong to help strangers, but for security sake, avoid doing that when you are traveling. If you must pick strangers, let it be that you are a public transport operator and you are picking your passenger from the approved bus terminals!
Criminals can be actors, don’t fall prey. When you see just one or two people waving you down, even if the person is uniform personnel (Police or Army), don’t stop. It is better to just press the acceleration and zoom off, allow them to look for a bus stop.
6 out of 10 Nigerians will naturally help someone who seems to need help if it’s within their means to help. This benevolence is what these criminals exploit to rob road travelers of their belongings.
Keep Your Travel Plans Confidential – Tell Only Those Who Need To Know.
Two crimes that easily comes to mind when discussing travel itinerary is kidnapping and a targeted robbery. Criminals who had been caught by the police eventually confess to getting tips for someone who knows about the travel itinerary.
As much as possible keep your travel plans confidential, don’t go blowing the horn over your travels plans, especially if you are a person of interest.
Despite the cashless policy adopted by the Nigerian Central Bank, we still have people traveling with loads of cash. Anyone could tip off the criminals to double cross someone with huge cash. It is easy to guess that tip-off could have only be given by someone who knew where and when the person will be.
If you must tell people your travel plans tell it to those who need to know.
So, What Next?
The security of road travelers also lies in the hand of the road transport union; they must ensure the buses are in good mechanical conditions. Because if the bus should breakdown at a blind spot, criminals can take advantage of the situation.
There is also the driver’s factor – drivers must be aware of what’s going on around them. Look out for a tail, the side mirrors and rear view mirror must be put to good use.
In the event of a chase/tail, drivers should drive to a police station and also have the phone numbers of the police on the speed dial to quickly call assistance.
Now that you know about the tips to having a safer travel experience, do well to put them to good use. Hit the share button below to share with friends on your social platforms so your friends and family can also stay safe while traveling by road.
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