Safety First: How Well Do You Know Your Road Signs?
Written By: ayam
June 27, 2019
Though it is vital to keep your car in top shape and to regularly check up on fluid levels and wear of parts such as its brake pads and the exhaust’s steel tubes. In the Philippines, having a well maintained vehicle isn’t everything. Road ettiquite is just as important. Going around the city with your vehicle is always an adventure in of itself, as you drive around for work, school, shopping or even dining. When driving, one of the most important things that one has to keep in mind is to always observe proper safety rules, driving etiquette, and make sure that you follow road markings, signs, traffic lights, and signals.
Safety is one of the most important priorities when driving, as accidents and incidents are regular occurrences on any road around the world. Preventing and avoiding these hazards from happening will ensure that your road trips and adventures will be a safe one.
With safety being of the highest importance, getting familiar with all of the road signs, symbols, and traffic lights is not only a requirement for you but also for you to pass driving examinations in order to get your license. With that in mind, here are some of the most important road signs and symbols, along with various traffic light signals.
A Guide to Traffic Lights
Traffic lights are some of the most common fixtures present in any major road and can be commonly seen on intersections, corners, turns, and other crucial junctions. Traffic lights function by having a set time sequence that ensures that traffic would be properly managed. The standard configuration of a regular traffic light is a single column of lights that contain three colors which signify different instructions. Along with these standard configurations, some traffic lights also have walk and turn signals that can be placed on designated parts of the road.
Learning how traffic lights work and what the signs and colors mean can only take a short period of time. However, being able to follow them is a practice that you must learn in order to be able to get your driver’s license, and ensure that you would not break basic traffic rules. To get started, let us take a look at the different colors of traffic lights and what they mean.
Traffic Light Colors
Green – This color signals that you may now be able to drive and cross an intersection or turn into a corner. Along with being allowed to pass through, vehicles are also not allowed to stop at any point, until they reach another traffic light, a pedestrian crossing, or traffic congestion has built up along the way. Unless the former scenarios occur, stopping during a green light is a traffic violation that can be also the cause for roadside accidents.
Red – This color signals vehicles to stop at a certain point, usually to allow the passage of vehicles on the other side of the road or intersection. Red lights are regularly coordinated with green lights in order to be able to provide steady and well-managed traffic flow and prevent collisions between vehicles. As with stopping on green lights, moving your vehicle on a red light is also another traffic violation that you must avoid doing.
Yellow – This color signals drivers that a red light is about to show up, which means that vehicles must slow down to a full stop. This signal ensures that drivers are informed that they would have to go full stop in order to prevent them from crossing. It is also worth noting that one of the most common violations during yellow lights is speeding up to beat red lights, which is something that will only get you in trouble.
Flashing Yellow – Along with the standard yellow light before the red light, these are times that a traffic light would be flashing yellow on and off. This is a different signal altogether, as it informs drivers to proceed at their own discretion, and be wary of vehicles passing from the other sides of the road. Should these lights appear along the way, it is best to drive slowly, and only pass through when the way is clear.
Traffic Light Symbols
Apart from traffic light colors, it is also important to know the different traffic light symbols that are present. Here are some of the traffic light symbols that you have to watch out for while driving.
Turning Arrow – The turning arrow signals drivers that they could turn on the designated direction once the light goes green, have vehicles wait during red, and turn with caution when flashing yellow. These are some of the most common symbols present in traffic lights, especially on the busier intersections, where traffic can get heavy.
Hand/Person – The hand and person symbol signals drivers that pedestrians are crossing the street, which means vehicles would not be allowed to cross until otherwise. This ensures the safe passage of pedestrians in order to prevent accidents, and keep drivers in check.
Bicycle – Similar to hand and person symbols, the bicycle symbol signals cyclists if they can pass through or not. Most roads today have designated bicycle lanes to accommodate the increasing number of bicycles, and having these symbols would ensure their safe passage.
Timer – Today’s new set of traffic lights include timers that signal drivers when they would stop or go, allowing them to adjust and prepare accordingly. These timers can go from 10 to 180 seconds, which is dependent on the amount of time needed for vehicles to pass each side of the road. Traffic lights with timers are now becoming more common in roads around the world, as it provides drivers with the proper time allotment to ensure they can cross safely.
Being aware and knowledgeable of the traffic light colors and symbols will allow you to be able to drive safely, and ensure that traffic would be able to flow more smoothly and safely. This is one of the first steps in becoming a licensed and safe driver. After learning the traffic lights and colors, the next step is to be able to learn and identify the multitude of road markings and signs present on the road.
Road Markings and Symbols
Road markings and symbols are some of the most important indicators present while on the road, as they help inform drivers of the various information and instructions that they need to know in order to drive safely.
The number of road signs and markings present can vary from country to country, but here are some of the most common symbols present on the road:
Stop Sign – One of the most common road signs, the stop sign signals drivers that they must stop on the designated location on the road. This can be used on intersections parking areas, and one-way roads to make sure that vehicles would not pass through these areas.
Yield/Give Way Sign – another common sign that can be found on parts of the road where changing lanes and directions are present, and signals that drivers on different lanes must provide passage to drivers who have the right of way. This is a sign that manages traffic flow accordingly and prevents congestion from happening.
Direction Signs – One of the signs that come in a wide variety of forms, direction signs indicate where drivers are allowed to turn or pass in a certain part of the road. Common signs include the “Must Turn Right/Left” signs and the “One/Two-Way” signs which help indicate the right direction in which vehicles can pass by. These signs prevent confusion and ensure that drivers are informed on which way they can go.
Speed Signs – These signs indicate the designated minimum or maximum speed in which they can drive on a certain section of the road. This can commonly be seen on highways and city streets where speed limits are needed to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians in the area. Failing to adhere to these speed limits means violating traffic laws, which can lead to fines and having a suspended driver’s license, along with being a major safety hazard on the road.
Bus Stop Signs – Bus stops are a common fixture on roads around the world, with these areas commonly designated on certain parts of the road. Bus stop signs help ensure that commuters would drop off in the right location while informing motorists to slow down in these areas, as buses are busy picking up passengers. It is also worth noting that some of these signs also have no parking symbols to ensure that these areas would not be blocked off.
No Parking Sign – One of the most common traffic violations around the world is illegal parking, which is why No Parking Signs are present across areas to prevent motorists from parking their vehicles in areas that can obstruct traffic flow and compromise road safety. Some signs also contain tow-away warnings to inform motorists of the penalties that they’ll face should they violate the rules.
Parking Signs – These signs inform motorists about the designated places where they can park and leave their vehicle, along with the time window in which the parking area is open. Some signs also double as loading and unloading signs, which allows motorists to pick up and drop off passengers within the area as well. Knowing where these signs are located ensures that motorists would not pick up any violations and be able to stop and park safely.
Do Not Block Intersection Sign – Intersections are some of the busiest parts of the road, and one of the most important rules in road safety is making sure that vehicles do not block these areas, and keep on moving. This sign indicates that an intersection box is present along the way and that they have to keep moving once the green light turns on.
Weight, Height, and Width Limit Signs – There are some roads in which vehicles of certain sizes and weight would not be allowed to pass through. These signs indicate the designated limits to prevent roads, bridges, or vehicles from being damaged. Road width signs are also common, which ensures that vehicles would be informed ahead of time that they would be traveling on a much narrower road. This also prevents larger vehicles from deviating from their path, ensuring that they stick to their designated roads and prevent their size and weight from affecting smaller and narrower road networks.
Warning Signs – Some road signs inform motorists of the possible hazards they might encounter along the way, which is why warning signs are placed on designated areas to ensure the safety of drivers. From natural hazards like rock slides and wet roads to areas under construction, these signs serve as an instruction for motorists to proceed with caution. Along with hazards, some signs indicate the upcoming turns ahead, which allows you to drive accordingly and change direction if needed. It is best to proceed more slowly in these areas, as you might face unexpected hazards that will hamper your driving experience.
Pedestrian and Rail Crossing Signs – These signs ensure the safe passage of trains and pedestrians, allowing motorists to only cross the road once they’re free. Stopping and moving in these areas must be met with caution, as accidents can become more dangerous in these areas.
Street Name Signs – These signs help guide motorists through various streets, ensuring that they would be able to reach their destination without getting lost. Each city has its own distinct set of signs, which help distinguish each area from the rest. These are also usually bright and colorful which make it easier and convenient for travelers to navigate or identify.
Highway Direction Signs – Used to guide motorists through highways, these signs are usually located a significant distance ahead to make sure that motorists would be able to reach their designated destination, allowing you to switch lanes to keep the journey smooth. These signs are commonly large, as highways tend to be wide, and the number of directions can vary from place to place.
Knowing the proper road signs and traffic light signals are essential in keeping you safe while driving and making sure you stick to the proper rules and regulations. Having proper knowledge is a must to become a licensed and safe driver, and with this guide, you would be able to go along your way and drive smoothly.