There are more than 145 road signs in Kenya, all of which are designed to ensure that the roads in the country are safe for everyone. Most road accidents in Kenya are caused by drivers and pedestrians who either outrightly refuse to follow the road signs or those who do not have ideas on what they are. These signs cover things such as how fast a driver can drive on different roads, where one can or cannot overtake when one needs to stop or keep moving, junctions, and other things. Many of such signs are easy to understand, but there are others that are not so easy.
The road signs fall into different categories and they are important for one to know and follow for the safety of everyone on the road and also to avoid getting into trouble with the law.
Why Drivers and Road Users Should Understand Road Signs In Kenya
Every road sign in Kenya and everywhere else needs to be understood by both drivers and road users in general because they are very important in many ways. For one, failure to take note of these signs and ignore them can be to your detriment and that of others.
Of a much lesser consequence, failing to follow some of these signs and signals can get one in a very serious problem with the law, most especially when it has to do with signs that are regulatory in nature. That said, the most important reason why everyone needs to understand these laws is that they can help prevent accidents.
There Are 4 Categories Of Road Signs In Kenya
Although some countries have as many as 5 categories of road signs, whatever road sign you find in Kenya, is under one of the four categories of signs in the country. Each of the categories indicates something different and has different imagery that drivers and pedestrians can follow. Here are all the categories:
- Class A – They are made of regulatory signs
- Class B – They cover warning Signs
- Class C – This category covers traffic lights signals
- Class D – It covers carriageway markings and kerb markings
Class A Signs
The first category of road signs in the country is made of regulatory signs which means that they are there to regulate how people make use of the roads. They are the pictographic laws that people are supposed to comply with. They mostly come either in red colors or blue. While those in red are strong warnings indicating things you must not neglect or fail to do, the blue colored signs carry signs of things you are expected to do.
Under this category, you will find priority signs which give important road signs demanding one to either stop or give way, and also prohibitory signs that prohibit you from taking certain actions on the road in certain places. Category A signs also have the mandatory signs which are the signs that one has to obey. Most signs in the Class A category appear in circles, although there are others that also appear in inverted triangles or in octagons. As stated, the general colors for these signs are red and blue.
The road signs here include the following:
- Stop/Go Control
- Give Way
- No Entry
- One Way (Left, Right, straight on)
- Give Way to Oncoming Traffic
- Keep Left
- Keep Right
- Proceed Left Only
- Proceed Right Only
- Proceed Straight Only
- Turn Left Ahead
- Turn Right Ahead
- Pedestrians Only
- Cyclists Only
- Buses Only
- Speed Limit
- Mass Limit
- Axle Load Limit
- No Overtaking
- No Parking
- No Stopping
- No Pedestrians
- No Cyclists
- No Cyclists and Pedestrians
- No Motorcycles
- No Motor Cars
- No Taxis
- No Minibusses
- No Buses
- No Goods Vehicles
- Width Limit
- No Motor Vehicles
- Bogie Weight
- End Of Restriction
- Height Limit
- Length Limit
- No Excessive Noise
- No Left Turn Ahead
- No U-turn
- Goods Vehicle not allowed to overtake
- Areas Reserved for busses
- Bus Parking Area
- Limited Duration Parking
- Car Park
- Parking Areas For Taxis
- Disabled Persons Vehicle Parking
- Bus Stop
- Pedestrian (zebra) Crossing
- Bus Lane
- Start of Bus Lane
- Bicycle Lane
There are other signs in this category that are considered Secondary Message Signs. They include the following:
- One Time
- Two Time Periods
- Reserved Movement By Vehicle Class
- Distance Over Which the Limit Applies
- Bus (message on primary sign applies for busses only)
2. Class B Signs
As indicated, the second category comprises signs that are designed to warn road users of the dangers that may lie ahead. They are designed to pre-empt a pending hazard and to inform drivers of the need to be cautious. Even though the signs here may not directly put one in trouble with the law, failing to follow them or ignoring them may put the lives of road users in danger.
Almost all the signs in this category appear in a red triangle with black signs in the middle except for a few that have two chevron signs with arrows. The signs under this class include the following:
- Tunnel Height
- Restricted Length
- Restricted Steep
- Descent Crossroads on Priority Road
- Skew T-Junction (Right)
- Skew T-Junction (left)
- Side Road Junction (left)
- Side Road Junction Left
- Staggered Junction (right-left)
- Staggered Junction (left-right)
- Sharp Junction (half-left)
- Sharp Junction (left)
- Sharp Junction (half right)
- Sharp Junction (Right)
- End of Dual Road Way (To right)
- End of Dual Roadway (Straight On)
- Start of Dual Roadway (Straight On)
- Start Of Dual Roadway (To Left)
- Gentle Curve (right)
- Gentle Curve (Left)
- Sharp Curve (Right)
- Sharp Curve (Left)
- Hairpin Bend (Right)
- Hairpin Bend (Left)
- Winding Road (Right-Left)
- Winding Road (Left-Right)
- Combined Curves (Right-Left)
- Combines Curves (Left-Right)
- Two-Way Traffic
- Two-Way Traffic Crossroads
- Traffic Signals Ahead
- Traffic Control “Stop” Ahead
- Traffic Control Give Way Ahead
- Pedestrian Crossing
- Physically Impairment Crossing Ahead
- Domestic Animals
- Wild Animals
- Railway Crossing
- Steep Ascent
- Narrow Bridge
- One Vehicle Width Structure
- Road Narrows Both Sides
- Road Narrows Left
- Road Narrows Right
- Uneven Roadway
- Road Humps
- Slippery Road
- Falling Rocks (from right)
- Falling Rocks From Left
- Loose Stones
- General Warning
- Edge Drop Stop/Go Control Ahead
- Jetty Edge or River Bank
- Low-flying Aircraft
- Agricultural Vehicle
- Road Crash
- Traffic Queue
- Width Restriction
- Opening Bridge
- Sharp Curve To The Right
- Railway Crossing
- Railway Crossing (More than one track)
3. Class C Signs
These are electric signs that provide instructions and alerts to both drivers and pedestrians. They serve to control the flow of traffic at different junctions, indicating when to stop, get ready, and/or proceed depending on the light that appears. Apart from junctions, they are also found at railway crossings, close to schools, hospitals, and roundabouts among others.
The lights appear in red, green, and amber or yellow. While red stands for stop, green stands for the move sign, while the amber indicates for one to either stop or pass when you are too close. Among other road signs in Kenya, these must be obeyed strictly so as to avoid congestion or confusion on roads that may be busy.
All The Traffic Signs in Kenya
Red, Green, and Amber Lights
This can appear on a traffic light that is arranged horizontally or even vertically. When Red light appears, it means that you must STOP and when you see the Amber or Yellow light, it means You Must Stop. The only time you are expected to proceed is when you are very close and you cannot safely stop. The Green light mandates you to proceed.
Green Light with Arrow
This is another important sign which mandates you to proceed only if you are headed to the direction in which the green arrow is showing.
These signals appear with the signal of a person. If it shows in green, it means you can proceed, but once it flashes a red man, it simply means you must not cross. When there is a green light flashing, it means you can wait for a little. You are expected to cross with caution even when you see the green sign.
Railway Crossing Sign
Another sign that falls under the traffic signals is the railway crossing sign which comes with an X sign and a half X beneath. Once the red light flashes, it simply means that you must stop because a train may be very close.
4. Class D – Carriageway and Kerb Markings
These road signs are different from all others above because they mostly appear painted on the surface of the road or kerbs. The signs are mostly done either with white paint or yellow. Some of these signs are only important to drivers while some are important to both drivers and pedestrians. Nonetheless, it is still required that all the markings are understood by everyone.
While some of the lines are drawn without any breaks, others come broken. Here are all the markings under this category of road signs in Kenya:
Pedestrian Crossings (Zebra Crossing)
These are among the most important markings you will find on the road and as a driver, you are expected to comply with them strictly. They appear as multiple white lines drawn on the road mostly around areas such as schools, hospitals, and places of work. This marking gives the right of the road to pedestrians, hence, drivers are expected to stop until children or people cross before they can continue.
These lines appear yellow in color. Whenever you see continuous yellow lines, it is an indication that cars are not allowed to either stop or park by the side. Note, however, that these markings do not prohibit bicycle riders as they are the only ones allowed to park when there are Kerb markings.
Not the same with the Kerb marking. When driving, you may see a longitudinal yellow mark on the right-hand side of the road where you are driving. You will also have another line of the same marking on the opposite side of the road. The function of this among other roadsigns in Kenya is to separate and control traffic flow.
These happen to be the most popular lines that you will continue to see drawn on the road. When the longitudinal lines are without any breakings, it indicates a restriction. It means that one cannot overtake or cross the road. When it is broken, it shows that you have the permission to overtake when the road is clear and you can cross with caution.
There Are Different Colors Associated To Road Signs in Kenya
Almost as important as the road signs in Kenya are the colors that they all appear in. Each color has a different meaning and the priorities may not be all the same. In total, there are 8 different colors that the signs appear in, including the traffic signs. Here are the colors that you will find the different road signals in:
1. Red Signs
This is arguably the most important color for a road sign because it is used to signify danger or for a strong caution. It is used for regulatory purposes, to warn, or to inform motorists and other road users.
2. Green Signs
Signs that appear in green are important in providing guides and instructions to road users. These serve to indicate that something is safe or even to indicate distance. There is no danger that follows this sign.
3. Yellow Signs
These also carry cautionary and warning tones although they are not considered to be as harsh as the red sign. This indicates that you are expected to proceed with caution or to slow down. It is not out of the ordinary to find this color appearing together with green, most especially on traffic signs.
4. Black and White Signs
Black and white are two colors that most often go together as road signs. They have a regulatory purpose and also an informative function. They are most often used when there is a need for you to reduce your speed or in the cases of Zebra crossing.
5. Blue Signs
Most of the time, Blue signs have a similar guiding purpose as green signs. It serves to inform both road users and the public of places such as hospitals, gas stations, rest places, worship places, and more. They also provide directions and parking areas to road users.
6. Brown Signs
Brown is not a popular color for road signs, but they are still being used. They are expected to pass information that is not necessarily critical. You will most likely find these in parks and recreation areas where they are used as informative signs.
7. Orange Signs
Orange signs are sometimes used in place of yellow. They have the function of providing a mild warning to motorists. These signs are mostly used for temporary purposes such as blockade of a road or ongoing construction work. You may likely find this color going together with black on road signs.
Other Road Rules Kenyans Should Obey
When you are driving on Kenyan roads, there are some things that you are not allowed to do, including the following:
- You must not exceed the speed limit that is indicated
- Drive in the middle of the road or on the other lane outside your own
- Overtake when there is an oncoming traffic
- Begin to drive when the red traffic sign is on
- Cause or create traffic congestion
- You must not get too close to a car you want to overtake