The main purpose of road signs, traffic lights and highway surface markings is to regulate the flow of traffic on public roads so as to assure the safe and orderly sharing of our roads by all users.
So, what are the 6 most-flouted road signs in Kenya and their meanings? Our (admittedly unscientific) observation around the main cities and towns in Kenya reveal the following:
1. Stop signs and stop lines
Stop signs are mandatory signs that tell drivers that there is a stop ahead and instruct them to stop, and then move when safe to do so. This sign is flouted every time a driver fails to bring his/her vehicle to a complete stop at a stop sign or stop line before proceeding.
2. Roundabout maneuvers
Roundabouts or traffic circles are used to regulate flow at intersections. To use them correctly, drivers need to know and use a few rules. These include selecting and staying in the appropriate lanes as marked on the roadway upon approaching, entering and exiting the circle. Many drivers fail to approach and exit the circle in the correct lanes.
Decide whether you will proceed straight past the junction or turn into one of the other directions available, or indeed make a U-turn; well before approaching the circle, execute lane changes to position yourself in the lane appropriate for the turn you plan to take; if turning at the junction, switch on your appropriate flashing signal; observe oncoming traffic already on the circle and give way to traffic already there, and then proceed into the circle, staying in your lane; when ready to exit the roundabout, indicate your intention to other drivers with the appropriate flashing signal and then safely exit the circle while staying in the correct lane. Finally, change lanes again once off the circle in order to put yourself on the appropriate lane for your next maneuver.
3. Speed limits
These mandatory signs indicate that no driver is allowed to let his vehicle exceed the speed indicated on the sign along that section of road. Speed limits are self-explanatory, yet speeding is one of the leading causes of road accidents in the country.
4. Double continuous center lines
Vehicles must not cross or straddle continuous center lines (single or double) except to pass stationary lines, road maintenance activities, emergencies, or to enter a side road and only if it is safe to do so. Many serious head-on crashes on Kenya’s highways involve motorists who are flouting this rule.
5. Crossing places for pedestrians
These areas provide safe zones for pedestrians to cross our roads and junctions. Drivers approaching such markings must do so at a speed at which they can stop their vehicles safely and give way to any pedestrian who is crossing the road in the zone. At a traffic light or traffic junction, vehicles must not straddle the zone if to do so would inconvenience pedestrians already there.
The importance of these zones is indicated by the large number of signs used to demarcate the. Stop signs, traffic lights, zebra crossings, stop signs pedestrians crossing here and pedestrian crossing ahead signs are used in combination to warn and instruct drivers. A cursory observation of the traffic flow in our cities and towns shows just how underappreciated these markings and signs are.
6. Traffic lights
The purpose of traffic signals is to regulate the flow of traffic at road junctions. Kenyan traffic lights use a four step sequence as follows:
- Red – stop behind the stop line
- Red & amber – get ready to go if safe to do so
- Green – go if safe to do so
- Amber – stop behind the stop line if this light appears while you are approaching
These are just the most commonly flouted rules. What are your views? Which other signs do you think ought to be on this list? Tell us in the comments below.
The theory part of the driving test will test your knowledge of all the road signs and markings. Use our free online driving quiz for more questions to help you prepare for it.
- Click here to download our free Road Signs of Kenya eBook.
- Click here to test your driving knowledge with our free online Kenya Driving Quiz.