How Clear, Easy-To-Understand Roadside Signs Help to Improve Road Safety
Roadside signs are a fixture on our roads that you might not think twice about. We see them every day and certainly rely on them for guidance and safety, but many of us don’t realize just how important these signs are. When they are well designed with clear, easy-to-understand messages, and installed in the right locations, roadside signs improve road safety for everyone.
Effective roadside signage works to:
- Guide drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians;
- Reduce confusion;
- Adjust vehicle speed when necessary; and,
- Reduce the risk and frequency of accidents.
Signs provide warning of hazardous conditions and areas prone to accidents, such as curves in the road. The strategic placement of these signs can reduce the number of accidents, especially when signs are installed along the roadside prior to and on the curves.
Roadside signs are especially useful to improve safety and are most effective when they are:
- Placed in locations where people have time to see, read, understand, and take the appropriate measures of the situation—i.e. to slow down for an upcoming curve in the road;
- Clear and easy to understand;
- Reflective and illuminated (if needed to be visible at night); and,
- Clean and in good condition to maintain visibility and clarity.
- Signage improves safety on the road when used in the following ways.
To Inform Drivers
Roadside signs should be unambiguous and strategically placed to inform drivers ahead of time of:
- One-way streets and roads;
- Speed limits;
- Distances to nearby towns and cities;
- Upcoming routes to take and not take;
- Upcoming school zones where the speed limit will decrease; and,
- Areas prohibited for vehicles.
To Warn of Hazards
Common road hazards that should be clearly marked on signs to forewarn drivers include:
- Blind corners;
- Sharp bends;
- Steep gradients;
- Crossings; and,
- Roadwork (construction zones).
Clear signage is especially crucial at pedestrian and railroad crossings for the safety of everyone on the road and railway. Drivers need to be warned to slow down and stop at these crossings to avoid hitting pedestrians or being hit by a train.
One type of roadside sign that is very useful to help drivers reduce their speed is the LED radar speed sign. You may have noticed these signs popping up along roads. They are especially common in residential neighbourhoods and school zones where the speed limit is reduced to ensure the safety of children playing and walking home. By tracking and showcasing your speed as you approach these signs, you become more conscious of your speed and more likely to slow down to the speed limit.
Although road safety relies on the better judgement of drivers, for the most part, roadside signs can also help pedestrians and cyclists become more aware of their surroundings. When used appropriately, roadside signs make the roads safer for everyone.