You have seen them on the sides of suburban streets, standing at busy intersections and looming large over multi-lane freeways. But the road traffic signs you see everywhere are not for aesthetic purposes. They are there to give drivers and pedestrians important instructions about road use and warn you of impending dangers ahead.
Whether you are new to driving, experienced, a pedestrian, or simply a parent trying to educate your kids, this post explains the four reasons why road safety signs are so vital.
Road traffic signs give instructions and commands to road users. For example, stop signs, speed limit, one-way sign, and yield all instruct a driver to do something at that particular time. Without these signs, drivers coming from different directions would collide and cause a tragedy. The absence of these signs would also cause chaos on the roads because drivers are going in all directions without order, and nobody would get to their destination on time.
The best thing about traffic signs is that they give uniform instructions to all road users, so everybody knows what to do to avoid a collision.
There are places on the road where two or three drivers facing each other have to figure out who goes first and who follows. Given that humans are inherently selfish, they would never yield to the other if it was up to them. This is where road signs come in. For instance, signs on the intersection or roundabout tell the drivers who will go first, so they don’t have to make the decisions on their own.
Construction ahead, bumps, sharp corners, children crossing, animal crossing, and falling rocks are all dangerous obstacles you cannot see until you get there. This could turn into a tragedy if you were speeding. Warning signs alert you of such dangers so you can slow down and make informed driving decisions. Some warning signs like train tracks ahead are even more dangerous because you can run into a train and not have enough time to stop or cross to the other side.
Contrary to popular belief, road signs are not just for drivers; they are also meant for pedestrians using the same roads. For example, pedestrians know that it’s their right to cross the road with a zebra crossing or a stop sign. Similarly, attempting to cross a road with a speed limit of 100 miles per hour is not only dangerous but stupid because cars cannot slow down at that speed. Some signs, such as a bus stop and taxi lane also help pedestrians know where to wait for public transportation.
In the USA and in many countries, people obey some road safety signs to avoid hefty penalties. However, knowing these signs by heart and following them can save you and other road users from accidents and other traffic issues. Children also need to be taught these signs from a young age so they can be informed when using the roads and playing in areas near traffic.
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