Do you know what road signs mean?
Posted Thursday, February 28 2013 at 02:00
Almost everyday, we see different road signs strategically placed at certain points. However, some of us may not have bothered to find out exactly what some of these signs are telling us and as such we may end up causing accidents or becoming victims due to ignorance. Enhance your knowledge today with some common road signs.
A responsible motorist should know the different types of traffic signs. Road signs give a driver various types of information or warnings depending on the shape, colour and placement of the sign. According to the manual on uniform traffic control devices (MUTCD), a sign must meet five requirements: fulfill a need, command attention, convey a simple meaning, command respect from travellers and give adequate time for proper response.
Boniface Kamau the head of training at Prestige Driving School, Kamwokya, says that road signs are categorised in three groups which include warning signs known as group A, regulatory or mandatory signs called group B, and group C includes the informatory signs.
Kamau stresses that group A carries the heaviest weight because when you ignore signs in this group, you are most likely to be a victim of motor accidents. Below are some of the most common shapes on our roads and what they convey to road users.
The octagon is commonly a regulatory sign. Regulatory signs bear information that the driver must that cautions the driver. This shape is exclusively used for stop signs. The stop sign is reflective to show the same shape and colour during both the day and night. Stop signs have a red background with white letters and border. “The stop sign is considered the important sign in the world that must be respected because it is normally found as you drive from a less busy road to a busier road and in such interceptions, there are high chances of motor accidents,” Kamau said
The triangle is a different type of regulatory sign that alerts drivers to slow down because another direction of traffic has the right of way. This shape is reserved exclusively for the yield sign. The yield sign has a white background with a wide red border and letters. If you have noticed there are two kinds of triangles, those triangles that point downwards and others that point up. The triangles that point up, point towards what the sign is informing you about. It may urge you to reduce your speed as you approach a junction for example. The wide base represents the speed you are driving at as you read the sign and as the triangle narrows you are supposed to slow down. Meanwhile, the triangle pointing downwards (inverted) informs you that whatever is on that sign is happening where it stands.
The diamond is a warning sign; alerting drivers to potentially hazardous road conditions ahead. These warning signs can alert drivers to a sharp curve ahead, caution drivers the road is slippery when wet or alert drivers of a hidden intersection. Warning signs have a yellow background with black letters and border.
There are two different shapes of rectangular signs: vertical and horizontal. Vertical signs are regulatory signs, informing drivers of speed limits, weight limits and railroad crossings. Horizontal signs can be used for a variety of needs. A horizontal sign could inform drivers of a one-way street, a possible road hazard or institutions and mainly informs drivers of facilities around the area they are driving. Such signs have green or blue coloured backgrounds which can easily be identified by the road users.