Know Your TRAFFIC - THE HIGHWAY CODE

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DfTKnow YourHow well do you know yourtraffic signs?This book is a fully updated edition of the highlysuccessful Know Your Traffic Signs first published byHMSO in 1975. It contains information about the mostimportant traffic signs, including many introduced sincethe 1995 edition. The aim is to illustrate and explain thevast majority of traffic signs the road user is likelyto encounter.Know Your TRAFFIC SIGNSTraffic signs play a vital role in directing, informing andcontrolling road users’ behaviour in an effort to make theroads as safe as possible for everyone. A knowledge oftraffic signs is therefore essential, not just for new driversor riders needing to pass their theory test, but for allroad users, including experienced professional drivers.All road usersTRAFFICSIGNSOfficial EditionKnow Your Traffic Signs for life, not just for learners 4.99www.tso.co.uk9780115528552 010 KYTS COVER v2 0.indd 1-3ISBN 978-0-11-552855-29 780115 52855224/08/2015 12:15

Know YourTRAFFICSIGNSOfficial EditionLondon: TSO780115528552 011 KYTS TEXT v2 0.indd 121/08/2015 15:38

Department for TransportGreat Minster House33 Horseferry RoadLondon SW1P 4DRTelephone 0300 330 3000Website www.gov.uk/dftwww.gov.uk/traffic-signs Crown copyright 2007, except where otherwise statedCopyright in the typographical arrangement rests with the Crown.You may re-use this information (not including logos or third-party material)free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the OpenGovernment Licence v2.0. To view this licence, nt-licence/version/3or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew,London TW9 4DU, or e-mail: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.ukArtwork of traffic signs should be reproduced accurately and not in amisleading context, for example not on roadside billboards.ISBN 978 0 11 552855 2First published 1975Fifth edition 2007Seventeenth impression 2015Available from www.tsoshop.co.uk780115528552 011 KYTS TEXT v2 0.indd 2Printed in Great Britain on paper containing atleast 75% recycled fibre.221/08/2015 15:38

ContentsPageIntroduction4The signing system9Warning signs10Regulatory signs16Speed limit signs20Low bridge signs22Level crossing signs and signals26Tram signs, signals and road markings30Bus and cycle signs and road markings32Pedestrian zone signs37On-street parking control signs and road markings39Road markings62Traffic calming72Motorway signs, signals and road markings77Direction signs on all-purpose roads94Direction signs for cyclists and pedestrians112Information signs114Traffic signals119Tidal flow lane control signs and signals121Pedestrian, cycle and equestrian crossings122Signs for road works and temporary situations128Miscellaneous signs140

IntroductionWhy know your traffic signs?Traffic signs play a vital role in directing, informing and controllingroad users' behaviour in an effort to make the roads as safe aspossible for everyone. This makes a knowledge of traffic signsessential. Not just for new drivers or riders needing to pass theirtheory test, but for all road users, including experiencedprofessional drivers.Keeping up to dateWe live in times of change. Society, technology and the economy allplay their part in changing the way we travel. New road signsconveying new messages and in new formats are introduced fromtime to time, so drivers or riders who passed their driving test a fewyears ago need to keep up to date or run the risk of failing tounderstand or comply with recently introduced signs.Do youunderstandthe colourcoding onsigns suchas this?A few examples of events that called for new signs include: Britain's first motorway Pelican crossings Reintroduction of trams Advanced stop lines Vehicle-activated signs Active Traffic Management.

introductionHaving experience is all very well, but it's not enough if yourknowledge is out of date.Responsibility for traffic signsResponsibility for the road network in the UK is split among: the Highways Agency in England the Welsh Assembly Government in Wales the Scottish Executive in Scotland and local or regional highway authorities.The central administrations above are responsible for the UK’sstrategic road network. Strategic roads are the highways that linkcities, areas of population, ports and airports. Most motorways andsome “A” roads are strategic roads.Local or regional highway authorities are responsible for localroads, and this includes a few motorways, all other “A” roads andall other public roads. While responsibility for placing, erecting andmaintaining traffic signs is split among these bodies, it is importantthat signs are consistent both in appearance and in the way theyare used.To ensure that the UK has a uniform traffic signing system, signsmust conform to the designs prescribed in the Traffic SignsRegulations and General Directions (although some signs mayhave been specially authorised by the Secretary of State).The Traffic Signs Manual, published by TSO, provides detailedguidance for those responsible for designing and installingtraffic signs.For more information about traffic signs guidance, seewww.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tss

A brief history of traffic signsIt was probably the Romans who first used "traffic signs" in Britain.They marked off road distances at one thousand paces (about onemile) with stones called "milliaries".Most early signposts were erectedby private individuals at their ownexpense. A law passed in 1648required each parish to place guideposts at its crossroads, but it wasnot until after the General TurnpikeAct 1773 that these "guide posts" or"fingerposts" became more common.During the second half of thenineteenth century, bicycles becamemore popular. Steep hills and sharpbends were very dangerous for earlycyclists, and "danger" and "caution"signs were erected at the top ofsteep hills. Signs showing skull andcrossbones were erected at themost dangerous places. Local authorities and cycling organisationsinstalled an estimated 4000 warning signs.The year 1896 heralded the era of themotor car, and some motoringassociations took up the business ofplacing signs. The Motor Car Act 1903made local authorities responsible forplacing certain warning and prohibitorysigns. The signs were for crossroads,steep hills and dangerous bends. "A" and "B" numbering of roadswas introduced in 1921, and these numbers were shown onfingerpost-style signs alongside the destination and distance. Townor village name signs and warning signs for schools, level crossingsand double bends were introduced at the same time.

introductionThe main task of signposting our roads during the 1920s and1930s still fell on the motoring organisations, but in in 1931 acommittee chaired by Sir Henry Maybury was asked torecommend improvements to the signing then in use, and by 1933further new signs began to appear, including "No entry" and "Keepleft" signs, warning signs for narrow roads and bridges, lowbridges, roundabouts and hospitals. Other signs followed duringthe 1930s, including "Halt at major road ahead". These formed thebasis of our traffic signing until the early 1960s.It was not until after 1918 thatwhite lines began to appear onBritish roads, and during the1920s their use spread rapidly.In 1926 the first Ministry ofTransport circular on the subjectlaid down general principles onthe use of white lines. In the1930s, white lines were used as"stop" lines at road junctions controlled by either police or trafficlights. Reflecting road studs (often referred to as "cat's eyes") firstcame into use in 1934. By 1944, white lines were also being usedto indicate traffic lanes and define the boundary of the maincarriageway at entrances to side roads and lay-bys, and inconjunction with "halt" signs. In 1959, regulations came into effectto control overtaking by the use of double white lines.

It was realised that the old system ofsigning would not be adequate formotorways, and the AndersonCommittee was set up in 1958 toconsider new designs. It recommendedmuch larger signs, with bluebackgrounds. Then, in 1961, theWorboys Committee began to reviewthe complete system of traffic signing. Itconcluded that the UK should adoptthe main principles of the Europeansystem, with the message expressed as a symbol within a redtriangle (for warning signs) or a red circle (for prohibitions). Workbegan on the conversion of British signs in 1965, and this is still thebasic system in use today.Later developmentsinclude the use of yellowbox markings at busyroad junctions, specialsigns and road markingsat pedestrian crossings,mini roundabouts andbus lanes. Regulationspublished in 1994included new regulatory and warning signs and simplified the yellowline system of waiting restrictions that was originally introduced inthe 1950s. Further Regulations were published in 2002.More use is being made ofnew technology to providebetter information to driverson hazards, delays anddiversions. The future willundoubtedly see moredevelopments in trafficsigning to keep pace with thechanging traffic demands onour roads.

the signing systemThe signing systemThere are three basic types of traffic sign: signs that give orders,signs that warn and signs that give information. Each type has adifferent shape. A further guide to the function of a sign is itscolour. All triangular signs are red.Circlesgive ordersTriangleswarnRectanglesinformBlue circles generally give a mandatory instruction,such as "turn left", or indicate a route available only toparticular classes of traffic, e.g. buses and cycles onlyRed rings or circles tell you what you must not do,e.g. you must not exceed 30 mph, no vehiclesover the height shown may proceedBlue rectangles areused for informationsigns except onmotorways whereblue is used fordirection signsGreen rectanglesare used fordirection signs onprimary routesWhite rectangles areused for directionsigns on non-primaryroutes, or for platesused in combinationwith warning andregulatory signsThere are a few exceptions to theshape and colour rules, to give certainsigns greater prominence. Examplesare the "STOP" and "GIVE WAY" signsThe words "must" or "must not", when used in the descriptionsthat follow, refer to legal requirements that have to be obeyed.

Warning signs(other than those for low bridges, railway and tramway levelcrossings, bus and pedal cycle facilities, traffic calming androad works)Traffic signalsaheadDistance toSTOP lineDistance toGIVE WAY lineCrossroadsT-junctionTraffic signalsthat operateonly at certaintimesSide roadStaggeredjunctionThe priority through the junction is indicated by the broader lineTraffic mergesfrom the leftDouble bendfirst to the left(right if symbolreversed)Traffic mergesonto maincarriagewayRoundaboutJunction on a bend(symbols may be reversed)10Bend to right(left if symbolreversed)Plate used with"roundabout"or "bend" signs

warning signsSharp deviation ofroute to the left (rightif chevrons reversed)(alternative designs)Risk of lorriesoverturning onbend to the left(right if symbolreversed)Plate usedwith warningsigns where areduction inspeed isnecessaryBlock paving incorporatedinto a roundabout to indicatesharp deviation of routeRoad narrowson both sidesRoad narrowson right (left ifsymbol reversed)Plates used with "road narrows" signsEnd of dualcarriagewaySingle filetraffic in eachdirectionRoad wide enoughfor only one line ofvehiclesTwo-way trafficTwo-way traffic onroute crossing aheadNear-side edge of carriageway or obstruction nearthat edge (alternative shapes). White markers areused on the off-side edge and amber ones on theoff-side edge of a dual carriageway11

Worded warning."Ford" may bevaried to "Flood","Gate", "Gates"or "No smoking"Try brakes aftercrossing a fordor beforedescending asteep hillSteep hilldownwards(10% isequivalentto 1:10)Steep hillupwards(20% isequivalentto 1:5)Plates used with "steep hill" signsSign used with"steep hill" or "tryyour brakes" signsOpening orswing bridgeQuayside orriver bankWater coursealongside roadEnd of bridge parapet,abutment wall, tunnelmouth etc.TunnelSide windsSoft verges fordistance shownHump bridgeUneven roadSlippery roadDistance tohazardDistance anddirection tohazardDistance overwhich hazardextends12

warning signsLow-flyingaircraft orsuddenaircraft noiseTraffic queueslikely aheadLow-flyinghelicopters orsuddenhelicopter noiseGliders likelySlow-movingmilitary vehicleslikely to be in orcrossing theroadSlow-movingvehicles fordistance shownWarning of signals(see page 120)."FIRE" maybe varied to"AMBULANCE"Zebra crossingRisk of fallingor fallen rocksRisk of ice."Ice" maybe varied to"Snowdrifts"Other danger. Theplate indicates thenature of the hazardFrail pedestrianslikely to crossPedestrians in roadfor distance shown13Disabledpedestrians."Disabled"may bevaried to"Blind"

Children going toor from schoolAlternative plates usedwith "school" signHorse-drawnvehicles likely tobe in the roadLights warning ofchildren likely to becrossing the roadon their way to orfrom school (usedwith "school" sign)Accompaniedhorses or ponieslikely to be in orcrossing the roadPedestrians likely to becrossing a high-speedroad where there is noformal crossing pointWild horsesor poniesWild animalsWild fowlMigratorytoad crossingArea infected byanimal diseaseSheepAgriculturalvehicles14

warning signsCattleCattle grid withindication of bypassfor horse-drawnvehicles and animalsSupervised cattlecrossing aheadSupervisedcattle crossing15

Regulatory signs(other than those for low bridges, railway and tramway levelcrossings, bus and pedal cycle facilities and road works)Most regulatory signs are circular. A RED RING or RED CIRCLEindicates a prohibition. A BLUE CIRCLE generally gives a positive(mandatory) instruction or indicates a route for use only byparticular classes of vehicle (see sections on tram signs and busand cycle signs).Two notable exceptions are:The "STOP" sign androad markings: you muststop before crossing thetransverse line on theroad and ensure the wayis clear before enteringthe major road.The "GIVE WAY" sign androad markings: you mustgive way to traffic on themajor road (the uprightsign or both the sign andthe triangle on the roadmight not be used atjunctions where there isrelatively little traffic).16

regulatory signsNo entry forvehicular traffic,including pedalcycles (usuallyindicates theend of aone-way roadwhere all trafficis travelling in theother direction)No motorvehiclesNo vehiclesexcept pedalcycles beingpushed byhandAlternative plates used with the"no vehicles" sign, indicatingtimes when vehicles areprohibited, except for accessNo motorvehiclesexcept solomotorcyclesNo solomotorcyclesNopedestriansNo ridden oraccompaniedhorsesNo horse-drawnvehiclesNo goodsvehicles overmaximumgross weightshown intonnesEnd of goodsvehiclesrestrictionNo vehicles orcombinationsof vehiclesover maximumlength shown17No towedcaravansNoarticulatedvehiclesNo vehiclescarryingexplosives

No vehiclesover maximumwidth shown(width shownin metric andimperial units)No vehiclesover maximumwidth shown(width shownin imperialunits)No vehicles over the maximumgross weight shown in tonnes.The bottom plate is used whereempty vehicles are exemptPlates used to indicate exemptions from prohibition signsExcept for access topremises or land adjacentto the road, where there isno other route. Otherexemptions may be shownExcept for loadingand unloading bygoods vehiclesWhere a road or bridge is verynarrow, priority must be given totraffic from the other direction(there will usually be a "give way"line indicating where to wait)NoovertakingWhere changes of direction are prohibited, a red bar across thesign is used in addition to the red circleNoU-turnNoright turnNoleft turn18Exemptionplate

regulatory signsVehicles mustnot go beyondthe sign wheredisplayed by aschool crossingpatrolVehicles mustnot go beyondthe sign wheredisplayed by apolice officer ortraffic wardenProceed indirectionindicated bythe arrowTurn left ahead(right if symbolis reversed)Vehicles maypass either sideto reach thesame destinationMini-roundabout(give way to trafficfrom theimmediate right)Plates supplementing "turn" signsNature of anddistance to aprohibition,restriction orrequirementSpecified traffic must not useverge maintained in mown orornamental conditionKeep left(right ifsymbolreversed)One-waytrafficWeight restrictionahead (may show adifferent restriction)Location of weightrestriction aheadwith indication ofan alternative route(may show adifferent restriction)19

Speed limit signsRemember that in areas of street lighting (other than onmotorways) a 30 mph limit applies unless another limit isspecifically signed.The maximumspeed, in miles perhour, at whichtraffic may travel,if it is safe to do soThe nationalspeed limit forthe type of roadand class oftraffic appliesRoad marking used inconjunction with uprightsigns to indicate thespeed limitA larger sign indicates thestart of a speed limit. Smallerrepeater signs act asreminders. Repeater signs fora 30 mph limit are used onlyon roads with no streetlighting. Repeater signs forthe national speed limit areused only on roads withstreet lighting (other thanmotorways)Entrance to a zonewhere a 20 mphspeed limit isenforced by trafficcalming measures(there may be no20 mph repeatersigns within the zone)End of 20 mphzone and startof 30 mphspeed limitStart of motorwayregulations, includingthe national speedlimit (unless a differentspeed limit is signed)Start of a speed limit at theboundary of a town or village20

speed limit signsPoint on a road with street lighting where anexisting 30 mph limit originally ended but hassubsequently been extended (temporary sign).This sign alerts drivers that a previous higher limithas been replaced by a 30 mph limit by theremoval of speed limit signsEnd of road works andany temporary speedlimit through those works(may be supplementedby a sign indicating thepermanent speed limitbeyond the road works)Reminder thatenforcementcameras are inuse (may besupplemented bya speed limit sign)Maximum speedadvised, in miles perhour, at a bend (theplate may be used withother warning signs)780115528552 011 KYTS TEXT v2 1.indd 21Area wherespeed camerasare in useSpeed cameranearby on a lit roadwith a 30 mphspeed limit (i.e.where there are nospeed limit repeatersigns)Minimum speedpermitted, in milesper hour, unless itis impracticable orunsafe to complyLength of roadwhere two camerasare used to measurethe average speedof a vehicle betweentwo pointsSpeed cameranearby on an unlitroad subject to thenational speed limit(i.e. where there areno speed limitrepeater signs)End of minimumspeed requirement2114/04/2016 16:35

Low bridge signsEach year there arehundreds of incidents inwhich bridges are struck byvehicles too high to passunder them. Both rail androad users have been killedin these incidents. Look outfor signs in this section andmake sure that you arenot a bridge basher.All bridges with a clearance of less than 16 feet 6 inches (about5 metres) are normally signed. Both regulatory roundels andwarning triangles can be used, depending on the type of bridge.Bridges particularly at risk from strikesmay have a variable message sign thatis activated by high vehicles passingthrough an infra-red beam. When thesign is activated, four amber lampsflash, the top pair alternating with thebottom pair.Regulatory signsNo vehiclesover the heightshown maypass the sign(height shownin metric andimperial units)At non-arch bridgesmandatory signs may beused; it is unlawful for anoverheight vehicle to passone of these. They areplaced on the bridge and atthe side of the road in frontof the bridge.No vehiclesover the heightshown maypass the sign(height shownin imperialunits)22

low bridge signsAdvance warning ofa mandatory heightrestriction ahead; thesign may include anarrow, if the restrictionis on a side roadLocation of mandatoryheight restrictionahead, with indicationof an alternative routeWarning signsA warning sign indicates

Tram signs, signals and road markings 30 Bus and cycle signs and road markings 32 Pedestrian zone signs 37 On-street parking control signs and road markings 39 Road markings 62 Traffic calming 72 Motorway signs, signals and road markings 77 Direction signs on all-purpose roads 94 Direction signs for cyclists and pedestrians 112

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