Rules of the road and driving etiquette

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 30 April 2016

Rules of the road and driving etiquette

Rules of the road and driving etiquette are the general practices and procedures that road users are required to follow. These rules usually apply to all road users, though they are of special importance to motorists and cyclists. These rules govern interactions between vehicles and with pedestrians.


Traffic going in opposite directions should be separated in such a way that they do not block each other’s way. The most basic rule is whether to use the left or right side of the road.

Traffic regulations

In many countries, the rules of the road are codified, setting out the legal requirements and punishments for breaking them. Traffic control devices are markers, signs and signal devices used to inform, guide and control traffic, including pedestrians, motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists. These devices are usually placed adjacent, over or along the highways, roads, traffic facilities and other public areas that require traffic control. 1. Traffic signs are signs which use symbols and/or words to convey information to road users. These devices are made with retroreflective materials that reflect light from headlights back towards the driver’s eyes. This is to achieve maximum visibility especially at night. Regulatory signs are traffic signs used to convey traffic rules and regulations such as intersection controls, weight limit,speed limit, one way, no parking and others. These signs are generally rectangular in shape and uses white, black and red as the primary colors. Warning signs are traffic signs that are used to warn road users about a potential danger.

These signs are usually diamond in shape and, except for temporary traffic control signs, have black legends and borders on a yellow background. Work zone signs have orange backgrounds, and incident management signs have pink backgrounds Examples of warning signs are crowsswalk signs. curve warning signs, intersection ahead signs, flagger signs, workers sign, or road machinery sign. Guide signs help road users navigate to their destination. These signs are generally rectangular in shape and have white text on green backgrounds. When a guide sign provides temporary guidance due to a work zone, it will have a black legend and border on an orange background. Examples of guide signs are street name signs, destination and distance signs, And place name signs. Work zone guide signs include detour markers, length of work signs, and end road work

2. Variable Message Signs or VMS are traffic control devices which can exhibit different traffic messages according to the needs of a specific road. Permanent CMS displays are mounted on large sign structures overhead or alongside the road. These devices are often placed on urban freeways which have traffic problems. Portable CMS (PCMS) panels are usually mounted on trailers, although some may be carried by trucks. They are often used in work zones or other events that disrupt traffic. CMS devices also follow a uniform shape, design and color that were set by the MUTCD. 3. High-level warning devices are traffic control devices that are high enough to see over other vehicles, such as but not limited to vehicle top, poles and other places not lower than 8 feet. These devices are also called flag tree because they feature two or three square fluorescent orange flags and a sometimes a flashing warning light.

This type of traffic control devices are used in work zones in high traffic density urban areas. 4. Channelling devices are used to warn drivers and pedestrians and to guide them through a work zone. Common channelizing devices are traffic cones and drums. This type of traffic control device are usually placed between traffic and road construction sites, or between opposing traffic streams. Traffic cones are channelling devices shaped like cones, thus the name. They are made from bright orange flexible materials, not less than 18 inches (0.46 m) in height. Cones used at night must have bands of reflective material near the top. These are used to confine a particular area or divide traffic lanes temporarily. Tubular markers are cylindrical in shape. They are also orange, with bands of reflective material near the top. They must be at least 18 inches (0.46 m) in height and 2 inches (51 mm) in body diameter. Tubular markers are made of flexible plastic and have a wider base that is glued or screwed to the pavement.

They are used in a similar way as cones. Vertical panels are reflective traffic control devices which measure at least 8 inches (200 mm) wide and 24 inches (610 mm) high. They are bright orange with diagonal white stripes. These panels are used to guide vehicle traffic. They can be more conspicuous than cones or tubular markers when viewed head-on, but are very thin and hard to see from the side. Construction barrels or drums are cylindrical channelling devices that are used when conspicuity is vital. These device are made with industrial-grade orange plastic and covered with alternating orange and white retroreflective stripes. These drums are usually ballasted with a heavy rubber base or a sandbag in the bottom for added stability. Barricades are channelling devices used to redirect traffic on high-speed roads and expressways.

There are different types of barricades depending on its size, design and applications. Barricades may be a fixed or portable traffic control device. Temporary raised islands are pavements that are usually 4 inches (100 mm) in height and 18 inches (460 mm) wide that are used for temporary traffic control applications. This traffic control device follow the standard design set by the AASHTO Roadside Design Guide. 5. Road surface markings are traffic control devices that are applied directly to the road surfaces. They are used to guide and channel traffic by designating lanes and indicating stopping points at intersections. Pavement markings may be permanent or removable. Interim markings are temporary markings used in place of a pavement for two weeks or until a real pavement is installed in that specific area.

These broken-line markings are at least 4 feet in length. Raised pavement markers are used to supplement or replace pavement markings. They may have embedded reflectors or may be non-reflective. Delineators are small reflective panels mounted on lightweight metal posts or flexible plastic tubes used to outline roadways and paths. These are about 1.2 meters/4 feet high. In the USA, yellow reflective material is used for delineators on the left of the road, and white delineators are used to the right of traffic. In Queensland, Australia, where vehicles drive on the left side of the road, roadworks delineators shall comprise red delineators on the left side and white delineators on the right (two-way roadway) or yellow on the right (one-way roadway). Delineators should be erected 1 m minimum from the edge of the travelled path and at a uniform height of approximately 1 m (39 inches) above the road surface.

Delineator posts should be frangible or otherwise non-hazardous. [1] 6. Traffic lights are traffic control devices used for alternately assign right-of-way to traffic moving in conflicting directions at an intersection. Traffic lights feature three different lights that conveys different meanings. The red light means that the vehicle facing the traffic light must come to a complete stop. A green light means that the vehicle facing the traffic light may proceed when it is safe to do so. A yellow light indicates that a red light will follow, and vehicle drivers must stop if it is safe to do so. Flashing beacons are flashing lights. Yellow flashing beacons are usually used to draw attention to other traffic control devices, such as a crosswalk sign. Red flashing beacons are used to supplement stop signs. Steady burning electric lamps work similarly to flashing electric light except that its yellow lights are not flashing. These are commonly used for on-road maintenance work.

Warning Lights are portable, battery-powered lighting devices that can worked as flashing or steady burning lights. These devices are commonly mounted on drums or barricades. They follow the standards set by the ITE Purchase Specification for Flashing and Steady-Burn Warning Lights. 7. Rumble strips are roughened surfaces that are either embossed or recessed. When a vehicle drives over them, they make a loud rumbling sound and vibration. They can be placed across traffic lanes to alert drivers that they are approaching a potentially hazardous location, such as a work zone or an isolated intersection. They are used along the shoulders or centerlines of highways to alert drivers that they are leaving their traffic lane.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 30 April 2016

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