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Using public roads with blatant disregard for road signs is one of the surest ways of putting yourself and others at risk of accidents. 

Depending on the severity of the accident, you could sustain grievous injuries or lose your life altogether. Even if you’re lucky to survive the accident, you may be held liable for ignoring road rules and receive hefty penalties. 

While you cannot be 100% careful on the roads, you can significantly reduce the risks of accidents by obeying road signs. 

The following are the seven basic road signs that everyone must know.


  1. Speed Limit Signs

As the name implies, speed limit signs stipulate the ideal speeds that a motorist should be driving at to avoid potential accidents. 

These signs are associated with poor road visibility, such as during rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions. You may also find speed limit signs before entering high-pedestrian areas, such as markets, schools, or animal grazing fields. 

Speed limits are generally calculated depending on the ideal conditions of a road. So, regardless of how low the limit may seem, violating it could result in fatal accidents. And just so you know, disregarding speed limits, even by five mph, is punishable by law. 

In the same breath, road construction workers should invest in quality road signs to reduce road carnage. With the advent of the internet, Buying affordable SABS approved safety signs online has never been easier. All you need to do is select the sign you’re looking for, pay through the company’s secure online payment systems, and wait for the sign to be delivered to you.

2. Pedestrian Crossing Signs 

Pedestrian crossing signs are usually posted around crosswalks and intersections. These signs point motorists to designated pedestrian crossing points. Motorists should slow down while approaching pedestrian crossing sections to avoid causing accidents. 

But pedestrian crossing signs aren’t just for motorists to observe. 

Pedestrians should also obey these signs and ensure that they cross a road at the designated sections. If a pedestrian ignores these signs and decides to cross a road at its busier stretches, they could be liable to punishment by law. In such cases, the law generally favors the motorist even in the event of an accident.


3. Stop Signs

There’s always the temptation to drive through stop signs instead of coming to a full stop, especially if the road ahead seems clear. However, doing so may earn you several months behind bars or thousands of dollars in fine, depending on your country or state. 

As you shall find, most stop signs come in red, which makes them mandatory to observe. 

The objective of stop signs is to give the right of way to approaching vehicles or pedestrians before driving on. Regardless of the state of the road where stop signs appear, it’s prudent to stop at the line, intersection, or crosswalk, whichever you encounter first.


4. U-Turns

Changing your direction in the middle of a road is one of the worst forms of a traffic violation. Not only will you put yourself and other road users at serious risk, but you can also face stiffer penalties compared to many other violations. That underscores the importance of obeying U-Turns. 

Once you come across a U-Turn, the conventional wisdom is to slow down your speed. 

Doing so will help you to avoid getting hit by oncoming vehicles. If you’re driving on a one-way road, slowing down your speed before negotiating a U-Turn will help avoid getting blindsided by cars behind you.


5. Traffic Lights

Traditionally, traffic lights come in three colors, namely Red, Green, and Yellow. However, some countries may use other traffic lights colors besides these basic ones. 

When traffic lights flash Red, it tells drivers to stop. Green indicates that drivers who had previously stopped at the line can start driving, or oncoming motorists can continue driving. 

Yellow usually lights on to indicate that the lights are about to turn Red. As such, it reminds drivers to stop as soon as it’s safe to do so.


6. Keep Left/Right Signs 

These signs are common where the road ahead narrows. The narrowing is often due to dividers or other obstructions. 

Regardless of the cause, drivers should obey these signs immediately and keep to the indicated direction. If ignored, a motorist could easily drive into a dead-end, such as a roadside ditch. 

In some cases, ‘keep left/right’ signs may be substituted by ‘do not overtake’ signs. Both imply a change of path in the roadway. 


7. Road Under Construction Signs

‘Road Under Construction’ signs come in various forms, including ‘Work Zone Ahead’ signs and ‘Men at Work’ Signs. Regardless of how they appear, these signs are simply intended to warn motorists of active construction work on the road ahead. 

Like the above-highlighted road signs, ignoring ‘Road Under Construction’ signs can put you and other motorists in danger. In this case, the injuries or fatalities could be even higher when you consider the number of construction workers on site. 

Your best bet would be to slow down and stop overtaking other vehicles as soon as you come across this sign.

The importance of observing road safety signs cannot be overemphasized. It will guarantee your safety and that of other road users. It will also prevent you from incurring unnecessary traffic offense fines.