Traffic lights (also designated Class C Signs) are an important part of the road signs of Kenya. They are automatic signalling devices which are used together with road signs and markings to manage traffic flows at road junctions, pedestrian crossings, and other locations. Kenyan traffic lights consist of three colored lights whose lenses face the stream of traffic they are intended to regulate. The lights are arranged in vertical sets with red at the top, followed by amber, then green at the bottom.
To manage traffic flow, the different colors are illuminated in a repeating sequence that signals when road users must stop, wait, or when it is safe to proceed. The four-step repeating sequence is shown in this animation.
The meaning of each step is as follows:
- Red: Every vehicle approaching this light while on a lane where it applies must stop before crossing the stop line. The driver must not move until the light turns green, and only if proceeding can be accomplished without endangering or inconveniencing any other vehicle;
- Red and amber: These lights illuminated together denote an upcoming green light. The requirement imposed by the red light remains in effect – i.e. you must not cross the stop line until the light actually turns green;
- Green: All vehicles may cross the stop line while paying attention to the safety of other road users and subject to the directions of any police officer in uniform or other authorized person who may be engaged in the regulation of traffic;
- Amber: This light, illuminated alone, requires every vehicle travelling on a lane where it applies to stop before crossing the continuous white line placed across the road. The only exception is a vehicle which, upon approaching the line, is too close to stop safely before crossing it.
Some traffic light installations include additional lights whose lenses contain arrows pointing to directions into which they regulate turns. In such installations, an illuminated green arrow means that a vehicle may proceed in the indicated direction irrespective of the state of the other lights in the set, subject to the safety of other road users.
In practice, traffic lights are mainly in use only in Nairobi and Mombasa. Despite this, every driver needs to be familiar with the illumination sequence and the meaning of each step as this is a favorite question for examiners.
- Download our Road Signs of Kenya eBook.
- Test your driving knowledge with our free online Kenya Driving Quiz.