Traffic signs are the prominent communicators, preventing drivers and pedestrians from fatal hazards on the road. Unfortunately, over 400 road accidents occur on Indian roadways every day, costing lives and costing 3% of the country’s entire yearly GDP. Therefore, the government has made it obligatory for anybody who wants to earn a driving license to be well-versed with the traffic signs.
Traffic Rules & Regulations
Traffic rules are essential in India to protect the safety of everyone on the road. Surprisingly, most accidents occur due to a lack of awareness of traffic norms and regulations. It’s critical to understand India’s traffic rules and regulations to protect everyone’s safety.
What Are the Traffic Signs/Symbols in India?
Whether you are a beginner driver or an experienced one, recognizing traffic signs/symbols in India is vital to your road safety. Traffic road signs in India and globally serve to conduct road behaviours silently; ignoring them is against the law. Every year the road safety rules in India undergo an upgrade.
Different Types of Traffic Signs/Symbols in India
There are several traffic signs, each with its own purpose. Any driver should be familiar with traffic signs since they serve important functions in terms of road safety. Mandatory, cautionary, and informative signs are the three types of traffic signs used in India.
The following are three extensive descriptions of the types of traffic road signage in India: –
1. Mandatory Road Signs
As the names indicate, this major set of road traffic signs in India includes mandatory traffic rules for drivers to adhere to. According to India’s Roadways and Traffic Department, failing to obey mandatory traffic laws and signage may result in a traffic penalty.
The objective of mandated traffic signboards is to regulate traffic on the road and make pedestrians aware of vehicle movement on the road, speed limits, prohibited parking zones, and so on.
Mandatory road traffic signs in India are as follows: –
|Stop||Drivers should stop instantly stop after seeing this.|
|Give Way||Give way to the right-hand traffic.|
|No Entry||Indicates a restricted area ahead.|
|Priority for Oncoming Traffic||Priority over vehicles approaching you.|
|All Motor Vehicle Prohibited||No traffic is allowed in this area.|
|Trucks Prohibited||There should be no movement of trucks.|
|Bullock & Handcart Prohibited||Forbidden for plying of Bullock & Hand Carts.|
|Bullock cart Prohibited||Plying a Bullock cart is restricted.|
|Tongas Prohibited||Entry to Tongas is restricted.|
|Hand Cart Prohibited||Entry to Hand Cart is prohibited.|
|Cycle Prohibited||Entry to Cycle is prohibited.|
|Pedestrians Prohibited||Pedestrians are not allowed in.|
|Right Turn Prohibited||Turning towards the right is prohibited.|
|Left Turn Prohibited||Turning towards the left is prohibited.|
|U-Turn Prohibited||It is prohibited to make a U-turn.|
|Overtaking Prohibited||Overtaking is not allowed.|
|Horn Prohibited||During certain areas, drivers should not horn.|
|Width Limit||This zone is not accessible to vehicles wider than 2 meters.|
|Height Limit||The vehicle’s height should not be more than 3.5 m to enter.|
|Length Limit||The vehicle’s length should not be more than 10 m to enter.|
|Load Limit||A vehicle weighing more than 5 tonnes is not permitted to use the road.|
|Axle Load Limit||Vehicles with an axle load of 4 tonnes or less are permitted to cross this bridge.|
|Speed Limit||Following the posted speed is required in these specified areas.|
|No Parking||Vehicle parking is prohibited in areas marked by this sign.|
|No Stopping or Standing||No vehicle or person should stop or come to a halt.|
|Compulsory Turn Left (Right if Symbol is Reversed)||The sign indicates that one should turn left.|
|Compulsory Ahead (Ahead only)||The sign indicates that one should go in a straight direction.|
|Compulsory Turn Right Ahead (Left if Symbol is Reversed)||The sign indicates that one should turn right.|
|Compulsory Ahead or Turn Right||This sign indicates to either go straight or turn right.|
|Compulsory Ahead or Turn Left||This sign indicates to either go straight or turn left.|
|Compulsory Keep Left||This sign indicates that the driver should drive in the left lane.|
|Compulsory Cycle Track||This sign instructs that only cyclists should use this lane.|
|Compulsory Sound Horn||Compulsory blow horn to let oncoming traffic knows your presence on the road.|
|Compulsory Minimum Speed||A driver must adhere to the set speed limit.|
|Restriction Ends||Beyond this point, the sign’s restriction is no longer valid.|
2. Cautionary Road Signs
Like other types of traffic signs in India, cautionary signs alert drivers about potential threats or safety concerns on the road ahead. As a result, drivers should take the appropriate precautions or slow down their vehicles following cautionary signs posted on the road.
The number of cautionary traffic signs in India is 40. Although these symbols are self-explanatory, the definition of each sign is included under their graphical symbol for better understanding. Cautionary road traffic signs in India are as follows: –
|Right-Hand Curve||The driver is warned of a right-hand curve.|
|Left-Hand Curve||The driver is warned of a left-hand curve.|
|Right Hair Pin Bend||Caution regarding a sharp right turn.|
|Left Hair Pin Bend||Caution regarding a sharp left turn.|
|Right Reverse Bend||Warn the driver that there is a zigzag turn to the right.|
|Left Reverse Bend||Warn the driver that there is a zigzag curve to the left.|
|Steep Ascent||This signifies the presence of a difficult climb nearby.|
|Steep Descent||This means that there is a steep slide downwards ahead.|
|Narrow Road Ahead||It alerts the driver that the road ahead is merging into a narrow one.|
|Road Widens Ahead||This indicates to the driver that the road ahead widens.|
|Narrow Bridge||Notifies the driver of a narrow bridge ahead on the route.|
|Slippery Road||The driver is warned when gravel or loose clay falls on the road.|
|Loose Gravel||This sign is often found in hilly areas where loose soil or gravel may fall.|
|Cycle Crossing||This indicates that the road is designed for bicycle use.|
|Pedestrian Crossing||Pedestrians can cross the street at this sign.|
|School Ahead||Warns the driver about a nearby school.|
|Traffic Signal||An instructing device indicates the road user to act according to the displayed sign.|
|Cattle||This sign indicates the possibility of cattle on the road nearby.|
|Ferry||This sign shows the presence of a ferry service.|
|Falling Rocks||Drivers are warned that the route ahead is prone to sliding rocks.|
|Dangerous Dip||Notifies the driver that there is a sharp dip nearby.|
|Hump or Rough Road||Warns the driver about a nearby bump.|
|Barrier Ahead||This alerts the driver of the presence of a barrier ahead. e.g., Tolls.|
|Gap in Median||This sign indicates a gap in the divider of a road, and there is a provision of a U-turn.|
|Cross Road||This sign indicates that a two-road crossing is ahead.|
|Side Road Left||The sign indicates a left-hand turn and a straight path ahead.|
|Side Road Right||The sign denotes a right-hand turn and a straight path ahead.|
|T-Intersection||The sign suggests that you can’t drive straight ahead due to the T intersection.|
|Y-Intersection||The sign indicates that a Y-shaped formation lies ahead.|
|Staggered Intersection||This sign is put near the intersections of left and right turns on a straight route.|
|Round About||This sign can serve as an alternative for a road crossing.|
|Quayside or River Bank||The Quayside caution sign warns of approaching the riverside or quayside at the end of the road.|
|Men at Work||This signifies that people are working or fixing ahead of the road.|
|Guarded Level Crossing||This sign indicates that a person is guarding a railway crossing ahead.|
|Unguarded Level Crossing||The sign indicates a railway crossing.|
3. Informatory Road Signs
Informatory signs are crucial traffic signs that inform drivers about facility areas even if they do not have a map. For example, it tells about a hospital, petrol pump, public toilet, etc., in the nearest vicinity.
Informatory road traffic signs in India are as follows:
|Advance Direction Sign||It is a sign informing drivers of the direction of the place.|
|Advance Destination Sign-on Rotary Intersection||This sign indicates the direction to several destinations on that road before intersections.|
|Advance Direction Sign (with distances)||This sign indicates the direction and distance to various destinations falling on that road before intersections.|
|Direction Sign||Direction signs on the road and highway help inform the direction or position of the way ahead.|
|Confirmatory Sign||This sign assures the driver is on the right path and shows the distance of the places written on it.|
|Place Identification Sign||This sign identifies the area and indicates the specific area ahead on the national highways.|
|Petrol Pump||This signifies that a petrol station is ahead.|
|Hospital||This indicates the presence of a hospital nearby.|
|First Aid Post||Indicates the availability of a first-aid facility nearby.|
|Eating Place||Shows the presence of a local eating venue such as a restaurant, cafe, etc.|
|Light Refreshment||This symbol indicates the presence of a nearby light refreshment facility.|
|Resting Place||Indicates the presence of a nearby resting spot.|
|No Thorough Road||This indicates that there is no exit available on the road.|
|Bus Stop||Indicates the availability of a bus stop.|
|Railway Station||Indicates the availability of a railway station.|
|Public Telephone||This signifies the presence of a telephone nearby.|
|Tunnel Ahead||This sign indicates the tunnel on the road.|
|Pedestrian Subway||This sign indicates entry to a pedestrian underpass/subway.|
|Park Both Sides||This sign indicates a permitted parking location.|
|Parking Lot Cycles||
Indicates the parking lot for bicycles.
|Parking Lot Cycle Rickshaws||This sign denotes the parking area for cycle rickshaws.|
|Parking Lot Scooters & Motor Cycles||This sign denotes the scooter and motorcycle parking lot.|
|Parking Lot Taxis||This sign indicates the taxi parking lot.|
|Parking Lot Auto Rickshaws||Indicates the parking lot for auto rickshaws.|
Shapes and Colors in Traffic Signs in India
Shapes and colours are utilized to represent images. These two factors are critical in conveying the meaning of signs. It is easier to remember the sign’s meaning when you know the colours and shapes used.
In some scenarios, drivers may not see the images well due to intense fog or snow. They can only watch the shapes and colours of the sign. Knowing the symbolism of the colours could be really useful.
Traffic Sign Shapes:
- Round shapes: Round shapes are typically utilized for regulatory signage. Therefore, when seeing signs of this shape, you have better pay attention and follow accordingly. Otherwise, you will be fined for your violation.
- Triangle shapes: The triangle shape is often used for caution signage. When you notice a triangle sign, slow down and pay great attention to the road ahead. However, one triangle symbol belongs to the regulatory sign groupings. With an upside-down triangle shape, it’s the “Give Way” sign.
- Octagon shape: This sign is only used to indicate a stop. For its distinctiveness, no other signs use this shape for other meanings.
- Rectangular sign: Rectangular signage is used for informational purposes. If you are navigating to a specific location, you should pay close attention to those rectangles.
Traffic Sign Colors:
- Red: The colour red is commonly linked with danger. It is typically used in road signs to indicate mandatory restrictions and possible dangers. When it comes to traffic lights, it indicates you must come to a complete stop. However, red can represent more than just a stop for traffic signals. It is commonly used for regulatory and warning signs. Never overlook a red traffic sign.
- Yellow: One of the three colours used for traffic signals is yellow. However, you will find less yellow in traffic signs than red or green. It indicates that vehicles slow down or be more cautious in most circumstances.
- Green: Green is typically used for informational signage that provides directions or guides to a certain destination. Green signs generally provide information about the distance to a destination.
- Blue: The colour blue with a rectangular shape is primarily used to suggest a nearby destination. Regulatory signs typically use a blue and round shape combo. In most circumstances, these signs indicate that you should take a turn.
- Brown: Nearby recreational and cultural sites are indicated with brown traffic signs.
- White: Regulations (such as speed restrictions) are shown on black and white road signs.
Traffic Light Signals
Traffic lights (also known as traffic signals) are lights used to govern traffic movement. They are strategically located at road intersections and crossings. The various colours of lights instruct drivers on what to do. Essentially, the traffic signal rules are the basic foundation of these signs. Therefore, it is critical to adhere to them to travel safely and without mishaps.
It would help if you came to a complete stop behind the red signal when you see a RED light. However, remember that crossing the stop line is an offence. So, it would be best if you stayed till the light turned green.
An AMBER light indicates CAUTION. When the amber light turns on, it signals that you are ready to go.
A GREEN light indicates that you should proceed cautiously and slowly through the intersection.
4. FLASHING RED
When you see a flashing RED light, you must come to a complete stop and only proceed when the road is safe and clear.
Drivers Hand Signals
Even though modern cars have built-in indicators for indicating direction, many drivers, particularly truck drivers, still use their hands to signal other road users. In addition, hand signals can help other drivers and road users understand your intentions, such as slowing down, turning, and permitting overtaking. Understanding such signals is thus helpful.
1. Signal for a left turn
Extend your right arm horizontally from the window, forearm pointing towards the ground, to indicate that you are about to take the route on the left.
2. Signal for a right turn
Turn right by extending your left arm out the front window, elbow bent, and pointing your hand up towards the sky, palm facing ahead.
3. Signal for stopping
Extend your left arm out the driver’s window and aim it down, fingers extended and palm facing backwards.
4. Signal for slowing down
It is signified by extending your arm downward with your palm facing rearward.
5. Signal for allowing overtaking
Make a forward circular gesture with your hand to indicate to the other driver that you are making room for him.
Hand Signals of Traffic Police
When police officers are directing traffic, obey their orders even if they differ from those of traffic lights or signs. There might be an emergency issue. When a police officer signals you to stop, bring your car to a complete halt and corporate with them for the smooth functioning of traffic law and order.
Road markings or lines on the road are white and yellow, and each form of marking or line has a specific meaning. Therefore, it is punishable to disobey the meanings of these markings. Furthermore, the traffic police may penalize you for this act. Ergo, basic knowledge of these road markings is essential for all road users.
What Are the Functions of Traffic Signs in India?
Traffic signs provide a variety of purposes for drivers on the road. The primary function of traffic signs is to ensure road safety. Furthermore, traffic signs are helpful in the following ways: –
- Informing drivers of the remaining distance to a destination.
- Inform road users of alternate routes to a location.
- Warn drivers of possible risks around schools and institutions.
- Inform drivers about specific areas such as public restrooms, restaurants, and hospitals.
Importance of Traffic Signs in Daily Life
The significance of traffic signs and road rules in one’s life cannot be overstated, and it should be prioritized. Any driver who operates a vehicle on the road must know all traffic signs and rules. The government has already made it obligatory for everyone wishing to earn a driving license in India to be familiar with the various traffic signs and rules. It helps: –
- Avoiding traffic jams and ensuring a smooth flow of traffic.
- Save lives by reducing the likelihood of accidents.
- Give relevant information about the journey ahead.
- Prevent traffic violations.
- In routes navigation.
Road Safety Rules in India
Road safety guidelines are the precautions that everyone must take when driving on the road. These safety measures are intended to reduce the possibility of accidents, injuries, or fatalities on the road. These rules apply to all road users, including pedestrians, bicycles, automobiles, especially bus and truck drivers. Safety methods are also applicable to road construction, route planning, and traffic control systems.
Refer to the blog below for further information about road safety rules.
Download Book on Road Safety Signage & Signs
In addition to protecting vehicles and pedestrians, road safety signs help prevent mishaps on the road. Furthermore, traffic signs ensure that road users simply obey a set of regulations to decrease the risk of traffic offences being committed.
To know more about road safety signage & signs, download the below PDF or Book by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of India related to Road Safety Signage & Signs.
Here you can download the book >> https://morth.nic.in/sites/default/files/road_safety_books.pdf
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