Welcome to #roadsafetywednesday. You can listen to my radio show on every Wednesday from 1:00 – 3:00 pm E.A.T. Catch up on every week’s topic right here incase you miss the radio show. I will also work on uploading the same on the YouTube for those who prefer to listen.

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This week’s topic is HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR ROAD MARKINGS, their use and meaning. We have road signs and road markings. In this blog, am only going to cover the road markings.

Road markings are one of the lowest cost of road safety measures. They are important in regulating traffic and guiding drivers and riders on position of the vehicle within a lane, driving speeds, visual scanning of the road and the environment. They are also the guide for other road users i.e cyclists, pedestrians. Imagine a road without pedestrian crossings marked?

Road markings also reduce total crashes by 15% and severe crashes by 19%. Driving at night in the absence of road markings is more dangerous than during the day. They are therefore your life saver in the night driving.


Categories of road markings
  1. Longitudinal markings – Different types of longitudinal markings are centre line, traffic lanes, no passing zone, warning lines, border or edge lines, bus lane markings, cycle lane markings.
  2. Transverse markings are marked across or partly across the road in association with certain traffic control devices, such as traffic signals and stop lines. Transverse markings are wider than longitudinal lines to compensate for the low angle at which they are viewed. They are used in applications where an immediate action is required by the vehicle operator.
  3. Hazard markingsLonger broken white lines in the centre of the road indicate a hazard ahead. Never cross a hazard warning line unless you are certain it is safe. A double solid white lines in the centre of the road. This means you MUST NOT cross or straddle it unless it is safe and you need to enter adjoining premises or a side road.
  4. Block markings – The markings made on the road which are in blocks such as zebra crossing for pedestrians, triangular and checkered marking for speed breakers. The quality of block marking with adequate visibility is of utmost importance
  5. Arrow markings – Arrows are universally recognised for indicating directions. They are widely used on signage and for way finding, and are often used in road surface markings.
  6. Directional markings – Directional Arrow Preformed Thermoplastic Road Marking. … Commonly used in one way systems, car parks, and airports access roads. This direction arrow is the perfect road marking for keeping a steady flow of traffic moving in the right direction. Basement parkings use this quite a lot too.
  7. Facility markings – Facility marking is a great way to improve safety and efficiency throughout your workplace. From floor marking tape to reflective signs to safety labels, a consistent marking standard within the entire facility contributes to the identification of hazards and overall productivity.


Example or road markings

Road marking will be different on different roads. For example not all will be on express ways. While roads near schools, hospitals and shopping centres will have additional or different ones. It is important to equip yourself with the knowledge of all road markings because you never know which road you will be on next.

Edge or border lines: – One of the most beneficial longitudinal marking . They don’t wear quickly because they don’t get traveled over. They have a huge benefit on road safety to the drivers especially in the night or during low visibility. This is where the driver tends to look if they are drowsy, also with oncoming traffic and you are trying to avoid the glare, that is where the eyes tend to go. They are also a warning that beyond that line it is not safe or there may be no road and is dangerous.

Lane separation markings: – Areas of white diagonal stripes or chevrons painted on the road. These are to separate traffic lanes or to protect traffic turning right. If the area is bordered by a broken white line, you should not enter the area unless it is necessary and you can see that it is safe to do so.

Stop line on the traffic lights: – It is a thin white line. If the lights are red, you stop behind the line, if the lights are green, you carry one. On this line, you observe the traffic lights.

Thick white line : – This line is found where there is a stop sign. It means, stop regardless and you can only move when it is safe for you to more.

Double broken white line: – This is a give way line which means you must give way to the traffic on the major road.

Single white broken line: – This is also a give way line found on the round about and means you must give way to the traffic on your right.

Single thick white broken line: – this is found on mini round about and means give way to traffic on the right.

Center line: – These are stripes of white vertical lines, facing the direction of the traffic. They divide a road which has traffic on both ways / directions.

Lane line: – They are shorter white stripes than the centre lines ones, also known as dotted lines. They also face the direction of the traffic and are used to separate lanes on a road with multiple lanes.

Hazard lines: – They are white stripes and longer than the centre lines. They give the driver a warning if there is traffic lights, end of the road, bend or some kind of hazard coming up.

Hatch markings : – they are in two forms.

a) Diagonal lines in between and they are found in the middle or centre of the road. They are for keeping you away from the oncoming traffic mostly in beds. If it is broken bounderies, it means do not enter not unless it is necessary to do so. If it is solid line of boundaries, it mean you must not enter.

b) Chevron markings :- Mostly found on one way roads or dual courages. They are meant to keep the drivers away from the lanes. If the borders are solid, do not make any turn or cross over to the other lane and if they are broken, you can do so if only it is clear.

Double solid line : – can be found in the middle of the road or the centre of the road. This means that you cannot overtake neither can the oncoming traffic overtake.

Solid line with broken line together: – This is also found in the centre of the road and means that if the broken line is on your side, you can overtake but the other traffic cannot overtake and vise versa.

Double yellow line: – This means no waiting at any single time.

Single yellow line: – No waiting at any single time during the sign shown at the nearest sign. We need this on Kiambu Road.

Keep clear sign: – Always found in places such as entrances and means do not stop at the sign.

Directional markings also known as lane signs: – mostly found in the lanes and show you the direction each lane takes (left, straight ahead or right).

School keep clear: – yellow with a zigzag line found at the entrance of schools and means that you can not stop there for any reason including picking and dropping. I don’t think we have this in Kenya.

Bus stop: – you can not stop in it but you can drive in it. We will have this soon on Thika Road so take note.

Bus lane: – you can drive in it but cannot stop in it. Unless there is a sign saying you cannot. Be observant for this once we have the BRT lane.

Yellow box lanes: – You cannot stop inside the box not unless turning right and even then, you cannot obstruct the oncoming traffic from taking their right. if there is traffic on the other side of the box lane, you have to wait until you are able to move through it without stopping.

Zig Zag line: – This indicates an upcoming pedestrian crossing and means you can not overtake or change lanes within the zig zag lines.

There may be more road markings that are not here. Road marking could be slightly different in different countries so is the driving sides. Some use right while others use left. However, majority are universal.

Once in a foreign country, familiarise yourself with the road markings. Road safety is your responsibility and ignorance has no defence. Accidents are preventable and they do not recognise if you knew or did not know. Arm yourself with knowledge.


  1. Majority of our roads are unmarked or the markings worn out. This contributes to more accidents and especially in the night.
  2. Lack of understanding of road markings hence not observing them.
  3. Some road users just ignore them hence causing traffic snarl ups and accidents.
  4. Replacement of road markings with police. When roads are manned by police even with the state of the art traffic lights and a comprehensive driving curriculum. This frequent practice has eroded the good of road markings and signs as drivers and riders get accustomed to the police and not traffic laws. So if there is no cop in sight, there is no observation of the road markings and traffic laws.
  5. Ignoring the directional signs – an exit is an entry for some and an entry is an exit for others. A stop sign is a go for some while a give way is “may the best win” for others. Total disregard of road markings and their use.
  6. Not giving way at intersections – our intersections look like playground, meeting point or a parking lot. Simply because giving way is not a thing not unless there is a cop.

While I sympathise with the traffic police who have been made to guide traffic when it is possible to drive and have sanity on our roads, I would also like to highlight that this practice is only making things worse on our roads. The traffic police should be there to enforce the law not act like the “brains for drivers”. Drivers should obey the traffic laws, road signs and markings.

Be a leader in the change you want. Let me know what you are doing to ensure there is positive change on our roads and drivers culture. Or better still, what would you like to see change on our roads?


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