A road sign is not only a symbol of authority but also of guidance. Drivers trust these signs to lead them safely to their destinations. In contrast, some disregard road signs out of ignorance or arrogance.
No one would argue that following road signs is a terrible thing. They keep us safe and help us get where we're going efficiently. However, sometimes people question why they need to follow certain road signs, especially if they don't seem to apply to them or their situation.
Road signs are put in place for a reason: to keep drivers safe and advised of possible dangers ahead. They are even helpful when navigating through roads you haven’t been on before and help you stay cautious. If you’re going through a route you have never driven on, you don’t know what to expect and which turns are allowed, but road signs indicate when you can make a turn and when you cannot.
Following Road Signs In India
Unfortunately, the primary reason road signs are “followed” in India is the fear of the traffic police. If the traffic police see someone breaking the road sign, they catch the rule-breaker and fine them, or they could even revoke the licence, depending on the situation.
For example, if there is a sign that says “do not take a U-turn”, regular travellers will know that there’s always a traffic policeman standing guard near that road sign, so they “follow” the sign because they know they will be fined if they don’t. However, here the reason for following the sign is not under the right pretence. It’s being done to avoid the hassle of the traffic police and not for the driver's safety.
Whereas road signs should be followed for safety reasons and to ensure that no passengers are harmed if the road sign is not followed.
The sad truth about the traffic situation in India is that the message is not being portrayed in the right way about road signs. Road signs are present for the safety of everyone on the road, and not just for travellers' convenience of when they want to follow the signs and when they don’t.
Road signs are an essential traffic law, and going against what they convey could lead to accidents and even more significant problems than just being caught by the cops. Driver safety is always the top priority on the road, and when that safety is ignored for convenience is when problems arise.
How Driving Simulators Help Enforce Positive Reasons To Follow Road Signs
One way to help enforce positive driving habits is using driving simulators. Incorporating driving simulators into the driver's education process can help provide a realistic experience that can teach drivers the importance of following road signs and practising safe driving habits.
Driving simulators place the driver in an artificial environment where they can experience what it’s like to be on the road. As a result, it’s an entirely safe practice that shows the implications of breaking traffic rules and not observing road safety.
And when it comes to road signs, with the help of a driving simulator, drivers can be taught what would happen if they don’t follow the road signs so that they can understand the dangers of breaking traffic laws and not repeat those mistakes when driving on the road.
Positive law enforcement is always necessary as it teaches drivers to stay safe and keep others safe. But when you train drivers to follow road signs only to avoid being caught by the traffic police, the wrong message is being spread about road safety, and then the drivers are more likely not to follow the signs if they see that the traffic guard is not present at that moment.
So when all travellers understand the real reasons to follow road signs, the presence of a traffic policeman will not influence their decision, and they will continue to observe traffic laws for their safety and others as well.
Road Rakshak is an important initiative of Red Chariots that envisions custom software, hardware and training programmes designed for Indian roads. We are committed to providing safety on the road for all drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. If you are interested in learning more about our Road Rakshak programme or wish to participate, contact us at +91 9361801673.