Simply put, traffic rules are a collection of regulations contained in the traffic code that governs the orderly operation and interaction of motor vehicles, bicycles and even pedestrians making use of the public and in some cases, private roadways.
These sets of rules have been accepted officially as the law and are to be followed by all road users.
In the United States, for example, the first regulation placed on motor vehicles came in 1901. In that year, New York became the first state to require that all motor vehicles be registered by their owners. By the year 1920, it became mandatory for all cars to possess licence plates. Driving licences, however, came much later. 15 years later in 1935, only 39 states had implemented driver’s licenses and tested drivers. A book titled Rules of the Road written by William Eno was available in 1903 but these laws weren’t given much attention until a while later. It is imperative to discuss the topic, so as to develop a better attitude towards traffic rules and this will make us more prone to obeying them. This will be beneficial because it will make roads a whole lot safer.
Examples of traffic rules
Although the traffic code varies from place to place, there are certain general rules that define the traffic codes of all countries everywhere. Let us consider some of these rules that a road user should never forget, regardless of their location.
- Always drive within the speed limit, at a safe speed. The speed limit is the maximum speed that should not be exceeded and is usually indicated clearly for all road users to see. However, in certain cases, the speed limit isn’t the safe speed to drive at. This can be due to so many factors, including weather, road work and others. Road users are meant to be discreet in their use of the road and take these conditions into consideration and drive at a safe speed.
- Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. It is generally accepted that you should maintain enough distance from the vehicle in front of you.
- Keep your eyes on the road! A car travelling 75km/h moves about 21 metres per second. Taking your eyes off the road even for a split second while driving can lead rear-ends and collisions. At higher speeds, the results could be catastrophic.
- Avoid cutting off other vehicles. Avoid the tendency to change lanes unnecessarily or worse, in a way that forces other road users to brake or swerve to avoid colliding with your vehicle. Make it a habit to always look behind you using the rear view mirrors when changing lanes.
Other such rules include but are not limited to:
- Do not park/stop on the expressway.
- Avoid driving on the shoulder
- When maintaining a particular speed, leave passing lanes open.
- Be cautious with the use of headlights.
What are the benefits of traffic rules?
The value of traffic rules is quite obvious. They help to bring everyone on to the same page so to speak as to how to act on a road shared by other users. In the absence of traffic laws, chaos would ensue. Accidents involving vehicles and even pedestrians would cover roads all over the world. Imagine 2 cars attempting to enter an intersection without the existence of traffic rules to tell them who had the right of way. Imagine an intersection with cars coming from all directions without traffic lights. Imagine a pedestrian trying to cross the road without proper indications as to where and when to cross. The answer is simple, traffic laws save lives.
It is easy to get a car to move. The hard part is doing that while sharing the road with countless other drivers who you cannot always expect to be rational. It takes care and diligence to follow all traffic rules, but doing so is absolutely worth it.