The 10 most vital road signs
The officer in-charge of traffic at Kampala Central Police Station (CPS), Ms Ruth Kyobutungi and police spokesperson, Ms Polly Namaye, pointed out the 10 most important road signs as:
1. Zebra or Pedestrian Crossing
The zebra crossing has white stripes on the road, which show that pedestrians will be crossing in that area of the road therefore, motorists should slow down. However, Namaye notes the zebra crossings as one of the most abused by Ugandan motorists. If a motorist knocks someone at the zebra crossing, the motorist is in the wrong. She however advises the public to take care even at a zebra crossing since there are a number of reckless motorists.
2. Speed limit
The speed limit road sign usually has the legal maximum speed at which one should drive in a given area. These signs show the speed in kilometres per hour. When respected, the speed limit road sign helps prevent accidents since it enables motorists know at what speed they should drive at in the given area. “When one drives at a speed higher than one suggested in a busy area, they could cause accidents,” states Namaye.
3. Stop sign
The stop sign which is in red and white usually calls for drivers to stop before proceeding. It is usually used at junctions, accident scenes on the road or at check points. Kyobutungi says, “The stop sign is a temporal traffic control sign.”
This road sign is symbolised with arrows in a circle or arrows pointing to the different directions the roundabout will lead one to. It alerts motorists of a roundabout ahead therefore they should respond by slowing down. The warning this road sign gives to motorists prevents them from running into other cars and over turning.
5. Humps ahead
Like the roundabout, the humps ahead road sign signals motorists to reduce their speed. “It is put 50 metres before one reaches the hump. One must be careful to slow down since they can overturn if not careful,” cautions Kyobutungi.
6. One way
The one way road sign is cited as one of the 10 most important road signs because if not noticed, one might run into cars moving in the opposite direction. The one way road sign has an arrow pointing in the direction in which motorists should be driving. “An example of this road sign is one near Pioneer Mall in Kampala. If one does not take note of them, they can cause an accident,” notes Namaye.
7. Climbing lane
The climbing lane road sign has two arrows. The climbing lane is used by slow drivers on a hill, to prevent them from slowing other motorists. Namaye notes that there are two lanes at this point. The outer lane is for drivers at a slow speed and the inner lane is for those driving at a high speed.
8.Schools and hospital road signs
The school road sign has two black figures of children on it. Kyobutungi says these road signs inform motorists of children or patients that are likely to be crossing the road. In addition, they help the public locate places.
9. Give way
The give-way road sign is put at cross roads to inform motorists driving from a given direction to let other motorists pass before they join the traffic. An example of a give-way road sign that Kyobutungi gives is one at the junction with roads to Rubaga Cathedral, Kabusu, Mengo and the city centre.
10. No overtaking by goods vehicle
This road sign cautions goods vehicles, which are usually heavy, not to overtake. “This road sign cautions goods vehicles not to overtake because they are heavy and usually move at a slow speed. By the time the goods vehicle overtakes, other cars from the opposite direction will have reached it and they will collide,” explains Kyobutungi.
Although not very common, the diversion road sign if not respected one could end up in a car crash because it is usually placed in the road during road construction or maintenance.
Namaye says this road sign is important because if you drive in the no entry zone, they are most likely to be towed or clamped.
This shows that the road ahead narrows at some point/section. The road could either narrow to the left or right. This road sign is sometimes temporarily used during road construction or maintenance.
The railway crossing road sign requires motorists to stop or slow down and ensure there is no train coming before they proceed. Namaye says it is wrong for motorists to park in the railway crossing even in a traffic jam. In case a train comes at that moment, it will not stop.
Also worth mentioning are signs warning of sharp bends, black spots, animals crossing and no parking. Some of the signs may not be as common as others but they are equally important for all road users including pedestrians.