Traffic signs or road signs are signs erected at the side of or above roads to give instructions or provide information to road users. The earliest signs were simple wooden or stone milestones. Later, signs with directional arms were introduced, for example the fingerposts in the United Kingdom and their wooden counterparts in Saxony. List of Road Signs in Kenya You Need To Know
With traffic volumes increasing since the 1930s, many countries have adopted pictorial signs or otherwise simplified and standardized their signs to overcome language barriers, and enhance traffic safety. Such pictorial signs use symbols (often silhouettes) in place of words and are usually based on international protocols. Such signs were first developed in Europe, and have been adopted by most countries to varying degrees.
Categories Of Road Signs In Kenya
Did you know that there are different categories of road signs? Have you ever wondered why some road signage is enclosed in a triangle while others in a circle? Confusing right? Don’t fret; the signage is basic information representing specific codes that you are probably aware of.
According to the National Transport and Safety Authority’s Highway code for all road users, there are four road sign categories. The list includes the two major road signs in Kenya.
These are classified according to what they indicate and possess unique imagery that is very easy for drivers to identify. What are the four categories of road signs and meanings?
- Class A – Regulatory signs.
- Class B – Warning Signs.
- Class C – Traffic lights signals.
- Class D – Carriageway markings and Kerb Markings.
There is a reason for the creation and implementation of signage, and the most obvious is the protection and prevention of accidents. Therefore, it is integral for the public to learn more about the four categories of road signs in Kenya and their meanings to create a safe environment.
Here is a List of Road Signs in Kenya You Need To Know
Class A or Regulatory Signs
Red signs contain symbols prohibiting indicated actions, while blue signs prescribe necessary decisive action.
Class B Road Warning Signs in Kenya
These give notice of a hazard that lies ahead and, in a way, request that you approach cautiously. These are also called Class B signs.
Class C – Traffic lights signals.
According to the Traffic Act (p. 218), the sequence of the lights shown to control the movement of vehicles shall be:
- Red: All automobiles approaching this light ought to stop before crossing the stop line. Drivers should not cross the stop line unless the traffic light turns green and proceeding doesn’t endanger other road users’ lives.
- Red And Amber Light Up Together: Immediately after the appropriate duration, the traffic light turn amber in addition to the red that lit to stop the driver earlier. Drivers shouldn’t move since the red light is still on and its impact active. Only when the red and amber switch off are vehicles allowed to proceed.
- Green: The green light signifies movement, and when on, the amber and red are off. This way, drivers can approach the junction but must adhere to other road safety rules. If there are uniformed police at the intersection, drivers must obey their instructions as well.
- Amber: The amber light, illuminated alone, follows the green light that notifies drivers to move. All vehicles that were in motion on the lane the light applies must stop. The only exception is automobiles that are too close to the stop, and terminating their movement would be dangerous.
Class D – Carriageway markings and Kerb Markings.
Often, when we think of road signs, we limit ourselves to those that are mounted on poles set alongside the roadways. Indeed that is what our previous post focused on. But there is more to road signs, and the driving test includes questions to probe your knowledge of this area. Under Kenya’s Traffic Act, Carriageway and Kerb signs are Class D signs. Some of them are mandatory and must be obeyed, others convey warnings and yet others provide helpful information. In this post we summarize these signs. Full details are in our upcoming book.
First, some definitions. Carriageway signs are those lines you find painted on road surfaces. In Kenya these are either white or yellow, and either continuous (sometimes called solid) or broken (sometimes referred to as dashed). Some are painted in pairs, “double lines”, other times a single line is used. Longitudinal lines are set alongside the direction of traffic flow. Transverse lines are set across the roadway, perpendicular to the flow of traffic.
Yellow color: Yellow longitudinal lines are used to separate traffic flowing in opposite directions. Therefore you should always keep them to your right. This is a helpful cue in the case you ever see a yellow line along your left hand side — you are clearly driving on the wrong side of the road. Yellow markings on kerbs are used to prohibit stopping or parking alongside such kerbs.
Kerb markings: Specifically, a continuous yellow line on a kerb prohibits all vehicles (except bicycles) from stopping beside the line, except for as long as necessary to comply with the movement of traffic or the requirements of another traffic sign; or enable a passenger to board or alight the vehicle; or enable goods to be loaded or unloaded from the vehicle.
White color: White lines on the carriageways or on kerbs are used in all other instances. Solid lines imply a mandatory requirement that you don’t cross or straddle them. Broken longitudinal lines are permissive, while continuous ones are restrictive. Double continuous lines indicate maximum levels of restriction; you should not cross or straddle them.
You must not cross or straddle continuous longitudinal lines as these are commonly used to prohibit overtaking along dangerous bends and steep ascents. And this injunction is stronger for double solid lines. When a solid line is paired with a broken one, you may cross or straddle it if the broken line is on the left of the solid one — otherwise you are prohibited from those actions. Going by the number of vehicles we see overtaking along, or driving astride, both solid and double solid lines all over the country, clearly these rules are highly misunderstood or actively flouted. Take heed though as, fortunately, there is often enforcement effort by traffic police officers in some of these areas particularly on heavily trafficked inter-city roads.
Conversely, you may cross or straddle broken longitudinal lines as long as doing so does not inconvenience or endanger the safety of other road users. For example, you may do so in order to overtake slower vehicles, change lanes or turn onto another road.
Hatched areas: Another associated type of marking consists of an area that is hatched or hashed in yellow or white diagonal lines bordered by continuous lines of the same color. All vehicles are prohibited from crossing or straddling these markings. The only exception is when the vehicle’s size or construction causes it to do so, and the encroachment is not more than is reasonable under the circumstances. This is another often abused type of road sign in Kenya, with speeding drivers using these areas as “overtaking lanes”, especially on rural roads. You would do well to be on the lookout for traffic police officers if you use this unsafe maneuver routinely.
Pedestrian crossings (aka “zebra crossings”): A roadway marking consisting of white longitudinal lines extending across the the road, accompanied by a blue “Crossing Place for Pedestrian” traffic sign (see image beside) indicates a crossing place for pedestrians and requires that all vehicles approaching it to give way to any pedestrian crossing the area marked by the strips.
Similarly, a roadway marking consisting of two white transverse lines accompanied by the “Stop, Children Crossing” traffic sign (see image beside), or a traffic light signal, requires every vehicle approaching it to stop and not encroach on the area between the lines if doing so would endanger or inconvenience a pedestrian thereon.
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