The main traffic control devices—signs, signals, road markings, and barricades— keep drivers and pedestrians safe. To learn how to preform traffic control, see our online traffic control course.
- As drivers, pedestrians, and other road users, we receive information via road signs.
- Traffic control uses signs and traffic signals to direct drivers.
- The four classes for road markers are reflectors, pavement markings, curb markings, and object markings.
Traffic Control Equipment
Using traffic control devices is crucial for maintaining a safe environment and flow of traffic. While it would seem that any circumstance could benefit from the typical yellow caution cones, this is not always the case.
Each piece of traffic control equipment’s efficiency is influenced by many variables, such as price, installation time, adaptability to varied road conditions, visibility, and OSHA safety regulations.
Traffic Control Device
Drivers are directed, guided, and informed by traffic control systems through the use of tactile or visual signs. Road design and marking, signs, signals, barriers, and channelizers are the primary kinds of traffic control devices.
Many traffic control devices are used on public highways and can be modified for use in smaller facilities. On public highways, drivers frequently pay more attention to signals and signs. Pavement markings and barriers may carry a greater part of the load in smaller facilities.
What are the Four Common Traffic Control Devices?
Attention, response time, and consideration for other road users are the three basic criteria for effective traffic control systems. A variety of traffic control devices are available that are made to divert vehicles away from property and pedestrians. Property managers can use a variety of traffic control tools to safeguard residents and their facilities.
- Traffic signals
- Road markings
- Barricades and bollards
We’ve all seen road signs. It’s how we get information as drivers, pedestrians, and general road users. Signs are used to indicate changes in the speed restriction. One-way or no-entry signs are examples of ways to specify the direction of traffic. Usually, there are signs indicating where you can stop or park. A movement offense frequently results from failing to abide by regulation signals.
Signs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including those that are regulatory, warning, directional, and informative. Examples of regulatory signs are used to regulate and enforce traffic rules, such as:
- Stop signs
- Pedestrian crossing signs
- Speed limit signs
Warning signs advise drivers of impending risks or construction, such as a sign alerting a driver to an oncoming work zone, animal crossing, or winding roads. Guide signs direct motorists, such as a sign showing the distance to the following exit. Route and amenity information is provided on guiding or informative signs to assist vehicles in reaching their destination, such as:
- Information on routes
- Rest areas
- Gas stations
- Tourist attractions
Signs direct vehicles when access to a particular location is limited or unavailable. Signs should be put up long enough in advance of the scene, for instance, when an accident results in a lane closure so that cars have adequate time to adjust to the change in traffic patterns. In these circumstances, signs can also be used to alert drivers to anticipated delays and proposed detours.
Road signs are easily seen with headlights at night since they are made of reflective material in high-contrast colors. The most significant signs on the road are those that regulate traffic. They state that the nearby public route is to be used legally. Intersection control describes proper behavior when two roads intersect—signs such as stop and yield are critical for avoiding conflict and crashes.
Private Property Signage
Striped caution signs are the most typical parking lot signage painted on lane separators and support pillars. To alert drivers to the top tolerable speeds, speed limit signs may be particularly helpful in conjunction with speed bumps. In big parking lots and garages with intersections that might result in vehicle collisions, stop signs are crucial. In some circumstances, notably in garages and complexes, one-way signs are helpful. The direction of traffic may also be indicated by road markers.
Traffic signals are used by properties to guide traffic in addition to signage. Typically, traffic signals should be able to capture attention, offer context and provide time for responses, as well as limit wasted time.
Traffic control signals frequently include unique green, yellow, and red lights to manage traffic flow. Pedestrian signals let pedestrians know when it is safe to cross at a designated crosswalk. These kinds of traffic control systems are often only used in locations with major roadways.
Red, yellow, and green traffic lights are a common sight in the world of traffic management. It is possible to add lane indicators and other specific lane markers to the conventional three lights. Flashing lights are frequently used, either as a typical signal or hanging by themselves. However, depending on the area and the hue, they might imply different things. Constantly burning lights are frequently employed as dangers or warning signs.
The road itself is used as a different kind of traffic safety device. On the pavement, curb, sides of islands, or on nearby permanent objects, there are road markings in the form of lines, patterns, words, reflectors, or symbols. These markers include:
- Pavement markings – White paint is often used for these markings, with yellow paint for lanes or parking restrictions.
- Curb markings – These markings are placed along roadside curbs to help drivers see them from a distance. They may include information on parking rules among other things.
- Object markings – To alert vehicles and pedestrians to certain physical impediments and dangers; labels may be attached.
- Reflectors – Reflective road markings may help cars navigate safely at night, and some hazard signs can reflect light up to 500 feet away.
Road markers are another important part of traffic control devices for traffic management between buildings in a residential or building complex. Any common roadway marker, like stop lines or shared lane marking (sharrows), might be used to state expected behavior. Road markers can also be used in parking lots.
When it comes to traffic regulation near the tight bends that might occur in constrained locations, stop lines and turn lanes can be crucial. To direct vehicles and pedestrians safely to their automobiles, crosswalks and zebra stripes provide demarcated pedestrian zones.
Rumble strips are used on extended sections of the road where drivers could lose concentration or miss an abrupt turn. Certain driving habits are simpler to engage in than others due to different road construction and environmental design. Other features that promote safe driving practices include:
- Speed bumps
- Curb extensions
Traffic control is also a part of road construction. Lanes can be marked using rumble strips. They warn an automobile that is drifting over them that it is no longer in its lane by sound and texture. To indicate the proper, legal use of road surfaces, road markings like lines and arrows are utilized. Stop lines, lane markings, turn lane arrows, and other things are among them. Drivers are alerted about unforeseen traffic patterns by road markers like “sharrows,” which indicate that cyclists and motorized vehicles share the road.
In parking lots, arrows indicating the direction of traffic, similar to those in one-way parking aisles, are frequently employed more than one-way signage. Of course, the stall marker, which designates the space assigned for each parked automobile, is the most typical road marking in a parking lot. Markings for accessible areas also significantly reduce user difficulties.
Barricades and Bollards
There are three primary types of traffic signs that serve as physical and visual barriers to impede drivers:
- Removable posts – When there is a high volume of vehicle or pedestrian traffic, these traffic posts may be quickly removed and rebuilt, providing temporary protection. The retractable traffic bollard can serve as a visual or physical deterrent depending on its size and strength.
- Collapsible posts – Collapsible bollard posts are put permanently in some places but may be raised and lowered depending on the needed clearance. They are perfect for temporary protection as well. These are helpful in places like parks where driving is generally prohibited but where passing utility or emergency vehicles may be allowed temporarily.
- Fixing posts – Fixed traffic posts are permanent structures that can offer physical protection against car collisions. They are available with embedded or surface-mounted installations depending on the kind of surface. These are perfect for areas that need constant security, such as building perimeters and shops.
Flexible bollards serve as both a stop and a placement guidance for parking stops in back-in spots. Additionally, they make excellent lane markers on circular ramps when larger vehicles need the flexibility to use more than one lane. Cones and delimiters are excellent temporary channelizers for building sites and temporary dangers. We will go into more detail regarding cones and temporary barriers a little later.
Barriers of all kinds, such as fences, guardrails, and concrete barriers, are often used in high-traffic worksites. Barriers keep vehicles apart from traffic and construction workers. Even traffic moving in opposite directions can be separated by barriers.
Traffic can be redirected away from temporary construction sites using barriers. When there are hazards that make an area dangerous for vehicles, they can also be used to temporarily cut off a lane or section of the road.
Traffic bollards are another traffic management device that can protect people from danger and property from damage in the event of a collision. Pedestrians should feel safe in the knowledge that they are protected from harm, and property should always be safeguarded as well as inadvertent car damage.
The most widely used tool for directing traffic is the traffic cone. They can be used instead of barriers to mark the start or end of a work zone, act as a barrier to stop cars from accessing a highway, or vice versa. Traffic cones are available in a range of shapes and colors, and some can even be used underwater.
Traffic cones can be challenging to see in rainy or snowy conditions. In these instances, cones create a barrier from the shoulder to the edge of the travel lane that can be used to keep the road dry and clear of snow and ice.
To provide employees access to the area without having to deal with vehicles stopping or swerving past the barrier, it may also be used to temporarily close off one lane. Like how splashing water from puddles onto the road by vehicles may cause pavement damage and expensive maintenance work. It is possible to use a barrier to keep water off the pavement, avoiding expensive repairs and maintaining traffic flow.
Traffic Control System and Protection
Traffic control systems do more than only direct or manage traffic. The following five factors highlight the significance of traffic control systems:
- Safety – The primary goal of traffic control systems is to protect those who are near or in moving traffic. Uncontrolled traffic on the roads increases the likelihood of accidents and injuries. The road would become much more hazardous without traffic control systems.
- Organization – Traffic control equipment must be present to direct vehicles at intersections with traffic. A lack of traffic management would mean anarchy in places like intersections. Regulating traffic makes sure that efficiency and safety come first. The best method to increase safety and reduce accidents is to let drivers know when it is safe to drive or when they need to stop. All drivers, passengers, and pedestrians benefit from traffic direction safety and security.
- Reduce Accident Severity – Some accidents that occur at and around intersections are less severe because of traffic control systems. Accidents have less impact at slower speeds as drivers become more conscious of how traffic should move.
- Reduce Traffic Congestion – Traffic would be chaos if there was no order. Traffic control systems at intersections, toll booths, and automatic gates bring about order. As a result, there will be far less chance for a total gridlock to develop. A gridlock makes crashes more likely and makes it harder for drivers to concentrate on driving.
- Promote Fuel Efficiency – Generally speaking, carbon emissions increase with a vehicle’s time on the road. Traffic management shortens the amount of time that cars are on the road. This contributes to a better future for society as well as keeping traffic organized.
How to Stop Parking Lot Accidents
Nobody wants to be in a car accident. Every day we take precautions in preventing accidents. There are, still, some places and circumstances where car accidents happen regularly. Most people don’t know but parking lots are actually one of the most common places for car accidents. According to recent data, one out of every five car accidents happens in a parking lot.
Most parking lot accidents can be prevented. Knowing how to avoid common mishaps is how you’ll keep both you and your passengers safe. Not to mention, you save yourself a ton of time and hassle.
The first rule of parking lot driving is to be patient. Finding a spot in a parking lot may be very frustrating, especially if there is a lot of foot and vehicle traffic. It’s important that you take care to keep yourself and those around you safe.
It can be hard to pay attention to everything going on outside your car. Distractions are everywhere, especially while you’re driving, such as listening to music, looking at your phone, checking on your kids, and sipping hot coffee. You are considerably more likely to hit a pedestrian or another vehicle while distracted.
Instead, lower the volume. Check your phone after you have parked. Remember to stock your children’s favorite activities to keep them occupied during long drives. All these techniques will help you in maintaining your attention on parking and preventing a parking lot collision.
Beware of Obstacles
There is just as much, if not more, happening outside of your car than inside. You keep a sharp eye out for potential obstacles. In a parking lot, the majority of the obstructions are moving, making the path in front of you unpredictable.
Since you’re operating the vehicle and pedestrians pay little attention to their surroundings, you need to keep an eye out for them. Be aware of stray shopping carts and distracted drivers who pull out of parking places without looking.
Use Turn Signals
While driving, always use your turn signals, but a lot of people fail to do so when parking. This may result in avoidable accidents. Any time you intend to make a turn in a parking lot, use your turn signals. This includes entering a place, leaving a spot, entering a new aisle, leaving an aisle, and entering or leaving a highway. You can prevent accidents by making other drivers and pedestrians aware of your intentions.
While we cannot always account for others, following these tips can help protect you, your passengers, your car, pedestrians and other drivers. You will be able to get to and from your location without any problems if you stay aware, take care, don’t rush, and drive defensively.