It may come as a surprise to many that the Romans were the first to use the concept of traffic signs. The first ones, simple columns made of stone, informed travelers how close they were to the cities. However, it was only after cycles became popular that the need for traffic signs was felt, and the demand continued to escalate as motorized transport hit the streets. Even though most people are aware of traffic signs and follow them unquestioningly, it is essential to know why they are so important.
Ensure Consistency of Rules for All Road Users
All across the country, traffic signs are the same, which means that the sign for No Overtaking or No Parking is the same across all the states. Consistency of signs, although seemingly small detail, ensures that motorists going from one state to another understand the rules and what they are allowed or not allowed to do when driving or parking their cars. If the signs were not consistent, motorists would be confused and it would lead to hazardous situations and chaos on the roads. While the consistency of signs does not mean that all motorists will follow them, they will be aware of the consequence of violating them.
Ease of Understanding
While many road signs have text, most road signs incorporate icons and colors to convey important messages. For example, you do not need to read what the sign says if you see an icon of a zigzag road or children at play. The use of visuals in traffic and personalized street signs is useful since it allows them to cut across language. It means drivers from anywhere in the world can follow the signs and keep safe from hazards.
Serve To Warn About Temporary Hazards
Traffic signs do much more than specify speed limits, when to stop, or where not to park. Often, motorists need to be aware of hazards posed by construction sites, road repairs, winding roads, diversions due to roadblocks, etc. These may not be readily obvious to drivers till the last moment. They can save themselves from potentially dangerous situations by being alert to road signs.
Keeps Drivers and Other Road Users Safe
The principal benefit of traffic signs is to keep drivers safe. According to Forbes, there were over 20,000 traffic deaths in America in the first half of 2021. Without traffic signs, roads will become dangerous and chaotic in no time. Drivers will not know the maximum speed to drive at, when and where to park, which roads to enter, when to stop, or about upcoming obstacles. Without traffic signs being present and the threat of penalties for violating them, many drivers would be reckless and put themselves and others on the road at risk.
Traffic congestion is a major issue with the ever-burgeoning number of cars in most cities. With thousands of vehicles on the road at the same time, it takes very little for chaos to ensue. Traffic signs regulate the flow of traffic so that there is less congestion and fewer accidents.