MANILA, Philippines – Driving in the Philippines can be a test of patience and attention, as you have to keep your eyes on the road while also being aware of motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians mixing in with the usual traffic.
Too often ignored – but they really shouldn’t be – are the road signs that keep motorists and pedestrians safe on the road. Road signs are usually classified into 3 categories: regulatory, warning, and information. Next time you go for a drive, refresh your knowledge of these basic road signs and what they mean.
Regulatory road signs
These signs tell drivers what they can and cannot do on particular roads. They also include signs that indicate the maximum speed limit or weight and height limit on certain roads. Many of these signs are round and bordered in red.
Examples of regulatory road signs include Stop, No U-turn, No Left or Right Turn, No Overtaking, No blowing of horn, No Entry, No Parking, among others.
Warning road signs
Warning signs inform drivers of potentially dangerous road or traffic conditions coming their way. You will usually find these signs just before approaching a roundabout, winding roads, or a sharp curve ahead. They can be easily identified by their triangular in shape with a red band outlining it.
Some examples of warning road signs include those that indicate a roundabout, two-way traffic, hump ahead, narrow road, falling rocks, pedestrian crossing, slippery road, road work, and steep ascent.
Information road signs
As the name indicates, these road signs give drivers information on where to find hospitals, parking areas, or bus and jeepney stops. These kinds of signs also include those that tell you the distance to the next city or town.
Some examples of information road signs:
Deterring road sign thieves
While the presence of road signs can help deter crashes, the problem is that these warning devices can end up stolen or defaced.
A total of 42,558 road signs have been stolen or vandalized in 2013, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Some road signs were spray-painted or covered with stickers, effectively rendering them useless to motorists. Others no longer fit the current condition of the roads where they were placed.
In a bid to deter road sign thieves, Quezon City 5th District Representative Alfredo Vargas III last year filed House Bill 6490 or the “Stealing and Vandalism of Traffic Signs Act of 2016,” which aims to penalize those who steal road signs or manhole covers.
Under the bill, a penalty of 12 to 15 years of imprisonment or a fine of P200,000 to P500,000 or both will be imposed on any person found guilty of stealing or possessing road signs and warning devices.
Meanwhile, those who damage or vandalize road signs will face 6 to 10 years of imprisonment or a fine of from P100,000 to P150,000 or both.
Keeping road users safe
Having properly-maintained and correctly-placed road signs can help deter the number of motorists and pedestrians who die or are injured in road crashes every year.
In its Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, the World Health Organization said 1.25 million die in road crashes around the world each year.
In the Philippines, more than half of the victims – 53% – are riders of motorized two- or three-wheeler vehicles.
Pedestrians make up the second biggest chunk of road user deaths at 19%, followed by drivers of four-wheeled vehicles at 14% and their passengers at 11%.
The WHO also estimates that more than 10,000 people in the Philippines died due to road crashes in 2013. – Rappler.com
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