“How Vulcanizers In Nigeria Are Killing People”


Between February to April, 2016, there has been incessant fatal road traffic crashes caused by tyre blowout. They include the crash which claimed the lives of the Minister and his family, the seven Doctors from Ekiti and then, the more tragic death of students from kano and their driver. I know that tyre knowledge is average based on findings by the Federal Road safety. I however know that the need for appropriate tyre care has remained top priority on this page. At a point I thought I had said all that I needed to say until the rich doses of tyre information I received during the recent stakeholder’s forum by the Federal Road Safety Corps on the theme, Promoting Safe tyre use in Nigeria.

But while I was still hoping to digest this vital information, I stumbled on two very important information which I hope to share with you today; the first was an online media report on the testimony of one of the surviving Ekiti doctor which painted the picture of challenges that complicated rescue efforts. The second was from a contact who shared his experience with a man he said had lived abroad. It was titled, important information to vehicle owners. I have chosen to share both with you as I commence another series on,’’ know your tyre’’ borrowed from the Corps ongoing campaign on tyre  and as a fallout on  the depth of information provided during the stakeholders forum. I do hope that as this series run, that we will all take a second look at what we know about tyres and how we treat tyres.

Let me start with the first information on the doctors crash; according to the report,a survivor from Sunday’s accident in which six medical doctors, and a driver from Ekiti State were killed 60 kilometers from Kaduna State,  on his sick bed in Kaduna said the doctors would not have died had basic medical care been administered on them after the accident.By the time the members of the Road Safety Corps came, some doctors that were severely injured had died. Five of them! But, we have two who could still survive. So we rushed them to the nearby hospital (Doka General Hospital, about 70 km to Kaduna).

“At the hospital, I was surprised when they said that there was no doctor there. I was even telling the nurses, ‘ok give me a pain reliever and let me put you through on how to resuscitate that man that was lying near me. But none of them attended to us. They were just running around, saying there was no this, no that. They were running around looking for this and that.

Then I pleaded with the Road Safety to take us to the nearest hospital away from the one we were. I said they should take us to Suleja, Kaduna, wherever, but the Road Safety said that they didn’t even have fuel. I told them that it was ok, that I would pay for fuel. So we left the place in search for fuel and bought the fuel on the road. But, before we got to the hospital (St. Gerard, Kaduna) the other person had died. That made the number of deaths six. The other very injured person, who was in the other bus also died making the casualty seven.

It is obvious from his testimony that the absence of prompt medical care, the challenges of fuel compounded the death ratio. But did you know that investigations shows that  both the vehicles involved in the Ekiti Doctor crash and kano students were among vehicles recalled by Toyota; that the rear right tyre which bursted was manufactured in 2008-a 7years and 4months old, meaning the vehicle had a tyre that had expired? The same was the case with the kano crash where the  burst  tyre was over five years old while out of the studs of the wheel/tyre assemblage, two studs had no nuts- these are all  clear cases of negligence on the part of the drivers. I do not know if there was a case of over inflation or under inflation which has caused avoidable deaths. This is why the second information is key for me because it addresses this issue. It reads thus; many people have been wondering what could be the cause of the incessant tyre burst accidents on Nigerian roads. The major cause is that we put too much pressure in our tyres. How did I know? I was preparing for a journey, I changed some of my tyres and I asked the vulcanizer that ‘ what is the recommended tyre pressure? ‘ He said 50. I said alright, he should inflate it to 50 all round.

When I got to where I was going, I was discussing with some people on the issue of the minister that died on the road due to a burst tyre and wonder what could have happened because nobody could imagine a minister would be travelling with expired tyres as many would think is the major cause of tyre burst.A man ( lived in US for many years ) said that the major cause of tyre burst in Nigeria is that we put to much pressure in our tyres and that each car has recommended tyre size and pressure clearly written on it by the manufacturer. I was surprised and begged him to come and show me where it’s written on my car. To my greatest surprise, it’s by the drivers door which I enter everyday without noticing it. By the time we checked, the recommended pressure for my tyres is 32! and I just traveled with tyres on a pressure of 50! He took me round his compound and showed me that of the cars (which includes a jeep and a sienna) there, the highest was 32. some were even 29!

He further explained that tyres are made of rubber and expands at high temperature. So, when yu are travelling in the afternoon when the asphalt on the road is hot, the tyre will want to expand. If the pressure in the tyre is to much and wouldn’t accommodate the expansion, a burst is likely to happen at that time.