Road signs and signals | THIS DAY LIVE
Following the United Nations sponsored Workshop on Road Signs, Road Traffic Administration and Road Safety Legal Instruments held at the CBN International Training Institute, Abuja – from Tuesday 28 to Wednesday, November 29, 2017, with particular reference to the 1968 Convention on Road Signs and Signals, this week’s article sheds some light on traffic signs. Traffic signs and signals help indicate the rules of the road and are designed for the safe movement of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. As a driver, you are required to know them. The shapes of the road signs make it easy to identify them.
Clear and effective signage is an essential part of highway and traffic engineering and a poorly signposted or poorly maintained road is considered an unsatisfactory road. With this in mind, Nigerian roads could be classified as unsatisfactory because they are devoid of road signs. Road users depend on signage for information and advice, to enforce traffic rules, to control traffic and as an aid to road safety. Having well-maintained and correctly placed traffic signs can help deter the number of motorists and pedestrians who are killed or injured in traffic accidents each year.
Signage must clearly communicate their message to road users at the right time. The message must be unambiguous and quickly understood; it must be given not too early so that the information has been forgotten before it is needed, and not too late for the safe execution of subsequent maneuvers.
The types of signs and signals that can be used are prescribed by regulation. Limiting the number of sign types available aids in their rapid recognition, as does uniformity of shape, color and lettering for each type. Quick recognition is further facilitated by the use of different shapes and colors for different groups of signs, for example, warning signs are triangular with black symbols, yellow backgrounds and red borders.
There are three types of traffic signs: signs that give orders, signs that warn and signs that give information. Each type has a different shape. Another guide to a sign’s function is its color. All triangle signs are red. Circular signs give orders, triangular signs warn and rectangular signs inform.
Blue circles usually give a mandatory instruction such as “turn left” or indicate a route available only for certain categories of traffic, for example buses and bicycles only. Red rings or circles tell you what you should not do, for example you should not exceed 50 km/h. Blue rectangles are used for information signs except on highways where blue is used for direction signs. Green rectangles are used for direction signs. There are some exceptions to the shape and color rules, to give more importance to certain signs. The examples are the “STOP”? and “GIVE WAY”? ? panels.
These signs warn of possible hazardous conditions immediately ahead of you. Warning signs are displayed in a red triangle, pointing upwards with a symbol or words on a yellow background. They should be placed well in advance of a hazard and allow sufficient time for drivers to take appropriate action.
These signs regulate your driving, informing you of speed limits, allowed turns, stopping and parking rules. Most regulatory signs are circular. A red ring or a red circle indicates a prohibition. A blue circle generally gives a positive (mandatory) instruction, but two notable exceptions are:
The “STOP”? means you must stop before crossing the line on the road and make sure the lane is clear before entering the main road. The “GIVE WAY”?? sign means you must yield to traffic on the main road.
Guidance and information panels
These tell you where you are, what road you are on or how to get to certain places. There are many types of these signs, such as service signs, location signs, route marker information and distance signs, and they vary in size and color.
Stephen K. Dieseruvwe
Chief Executive Officer, Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA)
**Driver trainer and road safety consultant
** Email: [email protected]