Regulatory Signs

Road Signs -


Let’s face it, none of us truly like to be told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. However, when you consider how many tons of metal there is racing down highways and winding through cities and suburbs, the only way to keep everyone safe (drivers and pedestrians alike), is to regulate the flow of traffic and the actions of road users. Regulatory signs exist to regulate and control, guiding our actions as road users and the flow of traffic, preventing us from or ordering us to perform certain actions. They thereby remind us of our legal responsibilities. As such, failure to obey these signs is an offence and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment, or both.


While regulatory signs are usually round, there are exceptions such as:

  • Octagonal stop sign,                                                                                        
  • Triangular yield,sign,and,                                                                    
  • Diamond-shaped pedestrian priority signs,                                                         


Regulatory signs are divided into the following categories:

  • Control signs:

These signs tend to have a white border with a red background with information displayed in white or a red border with a white background and information displayed in black. The most common of these signs are the Stop, yield, no entry, and one way road signs. All are designed to control the flow of traffic.   


  • Command signs:

Round with a white border, blue background, and information in white, these signs command your course of action for the road ahead. Commands conveyed cover minimum speed, vehicles exceeding mass only, keep left or right, proceed left only, proceed right only, pedestrians only etc.


  • Prohibition signs:

Usually round with a red border, white background and information displayed in black, these signs prohibit certain actions on the road ahead of you. You’ll also find that a lot of the signs will make the prohibition of actions even clearer with the addition of a red diagonal stripe running through the pictogram. Actions such as setting the speed limit, mass, height, length or axle limit of vehicles using that section of road; excessive noise prohibited usually found near hospitals, churches or homes for the aged; no left, right or u-turns. The list goes on.


  • Reservation signs:

Rectangular (portrait layout) with a white border, blue background and information displayed in white form the basis of these signs. Most commonly used for reserved parking and lanes such as those used by buses, bicycles, motorcycles, vehicles used for the transportation of the disabled and emergency vehicles.


  • Comprehensive signs:

These signs are rectangular (portrait layout) with a red border, blue background and information displayed in white. Commonly found on freeways and public roads these signs are designed to alert the driver to the start of a dual or single carriageway or to the special road rules that might apply on a public road due to elements such as children playing in the street, pedestrians or animals.


  • Selective restriction signs:

These signs are found below regulatory signs and offer additional information and restrictions such as time limits, maximum parking time, reduced visibility, daytime, night time, reserved movement, pay and display, etc.


  • Combination signs:

Exactly as the name suggests, these signs are a combination of two categories and always include a regulatory sign as the most prominent with another sign beneath it carrying additional information to guide and regulate road user actions.


  • De-restriction signs:

Once again, the title is self-explanatory. De-restriction signs are used to indicate the cancellation of an earlier restriction such as a mass limit, dual-carriageway or toll road coming to an end.

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