Traffic signs have been a vital element of UK roads for centuries. Their origin can be traced as far back as the Roman Empire, where the Romans used signs to let travellers know how far away from a city they were.
Since then, signs have evolved tremendously. In the present day, road signs help improve road safety, and they come in many different shapes and sizes – as you’ve probably seen!
But why are they so important? Well, keep reading as we go over all the ways road signs make our roadways a better place.
Quick information without words
A lot of traffic signs do not have words. Instead, they have symbols to indicate their meaning. These symbols help remove any language barriers while providing quick and crucial information.
For instance, if you’re entering an elderly neighbourhood, you will sometimes see a traffic sign with two elderly people and one of the individuals holding a walking stick. This helps notify drivers that they need to be on high alert as the risk of hazards is heightened.
Raising awareness of hazards that may not be obvious
As discussed in the previous point with the example we gave, signs do a lot more than simply tell you speed limits and road names. They help let you know of potential danger in certain areas. This is especially helpful when you’re driving on unfamiliar roads.
Say you’re heading out to the country and see a sign with deer on it. From then onwards, you know that there is the possibility that deer could jump out onto the road. So, with this knowledge, you can proceed with caution with heightened awareness.
Increasing safety for non-drivers
Cars make up the majority of vehicles on our roads; however, they’re not the only mode of transport used. Cyclists commonly travel on the road, and if they are involved in an accident, the outcome can be bleak.
To reduce these types of accidents happening, there are signs to reduce drivers’ speed in certain areas and to let them know about cycling hotspots.
Furthermore, this concept is used to help keep pedestrians safe too when they are crossing/nearby roads. At the end of the day, we all want to reduce accidents and keep everyone safe, whether we’re inside cars or close to them.
Dealing with traffic
One thing everyone can agree on is no one likes being stuck in traffic. Although they don’t get rid of all traffic, traffic signs do aid in reducing traffic and keeping drivers moving. Give way signs, speed limits, and others help communicate essential information that can lessen the chance of accidents occurring. As a result, fewer roads are blocked, helping drivers to travel without long delays.
Helping new drivers
If you’ve been driving for a long period, you’ll likely be comfortable with driving and know where you’re going, especially with routes you travel often. For new drivers that are still trying to understand everything, signs are a valuable asset that will help them along their journeys.
They provide key information about what to expect ahead, helping new drivers mentally prepare for any obstacles that may be coming their way. In many cases, information displayed on signs has been the key factor in preventing new drivers from getting into accidents when driving around. Not to mention that speed signs help significantly when letting new drivers know what their maximum speed is, which helps reduce the chance of them getting speeding tickets while keeping roads safe.
Like many things in life, road signs are constantly reviewed to determine their effectiveness. If any areas of improvement are identified, signs are updated. A great example of this was when road signs were fitted with retroreflective sheeting to help increase their visibility during dark hours.
As technology advances, we’ll likely see further development to our road signs, helping to provide key information and keep our roads safer.
Reducing phone distraction
Mobile phones are one of the biggest distractions to drivers. They’re regularly used to find navigational information. Although this can be helpful when figuring out where to go, looking at a phone screen rather than the road can lead to accidents.
This is why UK signs have been specifically made to provide navigation information as clearly and concisely as possible. By doing so, they aim to reduce drivers’ reliance on phones when travelling unfamiliar routes.
Keeping areas clear
Without signs telling individuals where they can and can’t park, roads would be littered with parked cars everywhere. If this was the case, cities and large towns would have major disruptions.
Traffic signs and road markings help remove this problem by giving drivers the necessary information about where they can and can’t park. As a result, we all benefit from better-flowing roads and less nasty parking fine surprises.
Allowing for better decisions
There’s no argument that traffic signs help drivers make better decisions when out and about. Whether that involves making drivers pay closer attention to hazardous areas or helping drivers navigate unfamiliar places with ease, there are loads of advantages to them being dotted around our roads.
Consistency for all road users
UK road signs have been developed to ensure they provide a clear message that can’t be misinterpreted. This level of consideration helps keep all drivers on the same page when road information is being presented to them.
The outcome of this method is a reduction in accidents that occur and traffic build-up, which are exactly two of the main objectives that road signs aim to achieve!
To Wrap Things Up
UK roads wouldn’t be the same without traffic signs. They help us in numerous ways, and they continue to make our roads a safer place.
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