The Importance of Traffic Regulatory Signs for Road Safety

Traffic regulatory signs are an essential part of road safety. They are uniform across countries and regions. For example, the yield sign is the same in Oregon and Maine. Without these signs, driving would be more difficult and dangerous. But not everyone obeys them. In addition, traffic signs are often vandalized or damaged.

Temporary Signs

Regulatory signs are posted on the road to guide motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. These include Stop, Yield, No Turns, Trucks, and No Parking. Some signs such as in regulatory signs Seattle, WA,  are national in scope but are also localized and may be based on state or local laws. The MUTCD defines five basic categories of signs. Temporary traffic control signs are usually illuminated, either internally or externally. Flashing warning lights is also effective as long as they do not interfere with the line of sight of the transit control sign. Typically, these signs are mounted on the right-hand side of the road. However, they can also be mounted on roadside trailers for portability and ease of takedown.

Damaged Signs

Having damaged regulatory traffic signs for road safety can be a serious problem. Signs can be damaged due to weather conditions, vandalism, and traffic incidents. Fortunately, some measures can be taken to reduce signs’ risk of damage. These include making signs challenging to remove and developing laws to penalize vandals. Also, make sure your signs are installed at the appropriate height. While assessing the condition of a roadside traffic safety sign, keep in mind that a poorly-placed or poorly-lit sign will make it difficult for drivers to see it. This can lead to a traffic accident. Not only can signs be weakened by weather conditions, but they can also be removed by individuals who want to make souvenirs or play harmless pranks. 

Vandalized Signs

Vandalized traffic regulatory signs for road safety can be a hazard to drivers. The signs are usually used to direct drivers to an area and provide directions. The signs can be large and green or small, photo-based, or both. Green Guide Signs provide directions for drivers approaching an area they do not know. They are mounted overhead or on the side of the road. Many different factors can cause vandalized traffic regulatory signs for road safety. Signs that are not well-lit or poorly positioned can easily be missed, leading to accidents. Signs are also useful for warning drivers of road conditions, road construction, and wildlife. 

Design of Traffic Signs

Traffic regulatory signs are used to communicate safety instructions and warnings to drivers on the road. They can be either warning signs or prohibitive signs. Warning signs are triangular and are usually yellow with a black symbol. In some cases, these signs may also be in orange. They tell drivers about the danger ahead and are also called yield signs. The design of regulatory traffic signs for road safety is often based on European practices. For example, red-bordered white symbols denote prohibition or mandatory actions, while blue-bordered white rectangles denote lane usage directions. Other signs, such as pedestrian-related ones, have been adopted to help make the signs more prominent. The basic shapes of these signs are illustrated below.

Maintenance of Traffic Signs

Traffic regulatory signs require proper maintenance to keep them in good condition. Damage can occur for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is the degradation of nighttime visibility. Fortunately, there are many ways to maintain traffic signs to ensure they are functioning properly. For example, the MUTCD standard requires that agencies develop a maintenance program by 2012 that will maintain minimum levels of retroreflectivity. Most regulatory, warning and guide signs must be replaced when they degrade to less than Chapter III minimum retroreflectivity. Agencies can meet this requirement by establishing an inspection program and measuring signs’ retroreflectivity using a retroreflectometer. Signs should be appropriately aligned to prevent glare. If a sign is too angled, it will create a specular reflection, making the legend difficult to read. The best position for regulatory traffic signs is slightly more than perpendicular to the roadway.