Looking through a public health lens: Why increasing rates of road accidents during ‘ember’ months?

It’s that time filled with excitement and also fear due to myths around the last months known as ember months (Adeleke et. al., 2020). The term ‘ember months’, which originates chiefly from Nigerian English, was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2020. It means “The final four months of the calendar year (September to December), especially considered together as a period of heightened or intense activity”. (Oxford, 2020)

It is common to have so many superstitious beliefs around the increase in road accidents during ember months in Nigeria, sometimes attributing them to demons or witches/wizards. While it is correct that accidents are on a rise during these months, road transport data from the National Bureau of Statistics attests that the major cause of road traffic accidents across the last quarter of 2018 and 2019, was due to speed violations accounting for more than 40% of cases. Other causes include dangerous driving, wrongful overtaking, and bad weather (NBS, 2020).

Now that the genuine reasons are known, it is up to you reading this post to prevent and protect yourself and others. But how? Firstly reduce the frequency of your travels during this period. Try walking for short distances, but if you must travel, ensure that you obey all road safety regulations.

What are your opinions about this situation in Nigeria? Do you think these increasing accident rates can be prevented even in 2020? If Yes, please kindly share your opinions on how to achieve a decline in these rates as the year comes to a close.


As much as it is the responsibility of individuals to drive safely and take precaution to avoid accidents, i’m of the opinion that the state of our roads (interstate or otherwise) increase the chances of having accidents. The bad conditions of the roads in addition to the increased flow of traffic on these roads during the ember months is not a good combination. We need access to good roads and the government needs to make more of an effort to provide that.
Also, law enforcement officers need to play their role effectively to enforce traffic laws and ensure that citizens do not drive recklessly.


Exactly. I agree with you @nana.gaje

Government needs to improve road safety