Some drivers feel that regulatory road signs are put in place simply to annoy them - perhaps to slow down their speed, or to prevent right turns on a red light. However, despite what you may think about regulatory road signs, they have all been put in place for your safety, and to help regulate traffic flow.
Every year, more than one million people die in roadway accidents, and many of these would have been preventable if some of the individuals involved would have adhered to regulatory signs which were posted in the area. Cars that are going too fast for area conditions are a prime candidate for potential accidents, as are vehicles proceeding the wrong way on a one-way street.
Regulatory road signs are used to remind drivers of local traffic laws, and of regulations which are in effect. In some cases, regulatory road signs also keep users apprised of legal requirements that apply in the area. Even though they may be an inconvenience, you should consider regulatory signs to be there for your benefit, helping to keep you safe and to avoid the possibility of an accident.
In this article, we'll consider the five most common types of regulatory signs now in use, and what their roles are in helping to guide traffic and to help keep motorists safe.
What are regulatory road signs?
Some regulatory road signs are used to protect personal property, for instance, one which says Private Drive - No Turnaround. This type of sign lets other drivers in your area know that the road or driveway is private, and is not available for motorists to turn around. Any homeowner has a perfect right to do this, especially if they want to maintain safety for their family, or they want to avoid having their driveway damaged by frequent turnarounds.
Another very common regulatory sign is the Private Property sign, which tells everyone that this is your private property, and anyone who enters it would be considered a trespasser. By posting this type of sign, a homeowner gives notice to individuals, so they can't claim to be ignorant about it being private property, and they would, therefore, be subject to any penalties associated with trespassing.
A different type of regulatory sign which might be used in an area that has a cul-de-sac would be a No Thru Traffic sign, which informs users that there is no outlet for traffic going down that street. Anyone who proceeded in disregard of the sign would then be obliged to turn around in your driveway before proceeding in the opposite direction again.
The types of regulatory signs most drivers see, however, have public usage and apply to much more general conditions. An excellent example of a public regulatory sign is a Yield sign or a Do Not Enter sign, both of which alert drivers to the fact that there could be a problem if the sign is disregarded. If you happen to see a Four-Way Stop sign, you'll know that everyone approaching the intersection ahead is obliged to stop before proceeding.
If a number of other drivers are already at the intersection, the one who arrived first will be the person who should drive through the intersection first. A Do Not Enter sign advises drivers that there is some condition that exists up ahead, which makes it unsafe for drivers to proceed, and that they should, therefore, find an alternate route.
Whether regulatory signs are used for private reasons or for public guidance, they should always be obeyed, since to ignore them would invite the possibility of an accident, or some other kind of roadway mishap.
What are the most common types of regulatory road signs?
Regulatory signs have the responsibility of informing drivers about traffic laws and rules of the road, and all drivers should be aware that these signs must be obeyed, or you will be in violation of your state's traffic laws.
There are several extremely common regulatory signs which every driver will see on almost every day. However, this doesn't mean that they should be so commonplace in your mind, that you forget to abide by the guidance they intend to convey. Instead, you should keep in mind that these are very serious signs and that they serve an important purpose in reminding you about traffic laws.
Here are the five most common types of regulatory signs that motorists will generally see on any roadway:
- Stop sign – whenever you come to a Stop sign, you will be obliged to come to a complete stop where there's a line on the road, or a crosswalk which is delineated on the roadside. Lacking either of these, you'll still have to come to a complete stop prior to reaching the intersection
- Yield sign – whenever you see a Yield sign, you are required to slow down your vehicle and check for the presence of pedestrians and other motorists, stopping your vehicle if conditions warrant it. You should also give right-of-way to any vehicles which are situated in the cross-traffic path, and then proceed through the intersection when it is clearly safe to do so
- Speed Limit signs – these signs will clearly identify to you what the local speed limit is for this section of the highway you're driving on. Be aware that the speed limit can change very quickly, perhaps even less than a mile ahead, so be aware that the speed limit will vary in response to changing driving conditions in any given area
- Wrong-Way sign – this sign generally appears at the roadside when you are about to enter a lane that has traffic in an oncoming direction. When you see one of these signs, you should pull to the side of the road, and turn around when it's safe to do so
- Do Not Enter signs - these will often appear with the Wrong Way signs, and you should never proceed past one of these signs because it's likely that traffic is coming from the other direction.
What are other types of road signs?
In addition to regulatory signs, there are also warning and guide signs which are commonly used on the roadways of this country. Warning signs will alert you to specific traffic conditions in the area, which may cause a certain amount of danger to motorists. Some warning signs can alert you to the fact that there are slippery conditions ahead, while others will inform you that there is a dip or a bump in the roadway ahead.
You may also encounter a sign that looks like a sideways T, and this will indicate that a side road is joining the road that you're on up ahead, either from the left or the right. By alerting you to the presence of oncoming traffic, it will help to keep you safer, and to let you know what to expect.
Guide signs provide information that will help you reach your destination, tell you how far it is from that place, or they can simply be route markers that tell you that you're on the right road. In any case, guide signs and warning signs are much different from regulatory signs, in that they are merely being informative, and are not requiring you to take any specific actions while driving.