Road signs and meanings in Kenya: Types and rules for road safety

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Road signs in Kenya help in maintaining safe driving conditions. One can know how fast they are meant to drive or when to stop or enter a junction.



However, at times, some drivers and pedestrians tend to ignore some of these signs. As a result, they end up causing accidents.


For sanity to reign on the roads, motorists and pedestrians may need to understand road signs and meanings to stay safe while using the roads.

Road signs and meaningsCommon road signs. Photo: @stux


The relevance of road signs is self-explanatory. They restrict motorists from hitting one another, warn of impending hazards, and inform drivers and even pedestrians of the local regulation and laws.



Road signs and meanings in Kenya

You have probably come across a sign whose meaning you couldn’t understand. Would you like to know the numerous triangle traffic signs meaning?





Maybe a refresher will boost your knowledge and help you to be alert while on the road. Importantly, you should know that they are divided into categories.





Did you know that there are different categories of roads signs? Have you ever wondered why some road signage are enclosed in a triangle while others in a circle? Confusing right? The signage is basic information representing specific codes that you are probably aware of.




According to the National Transport and Safety Authority’s Highway code for all road users, there are four road sign categories. The list includes the two major road signs in Kenya.




In some countries, there are up to 5 types of traffic signs. However, in Kenya there only four. These are classified according to what they indicate and possess unique imagery that is straightforward for drivers to identify. So, what are the 4 types of road signs?

  • Class A – Regulatory signs.
  • Class B – Warning Signs.
  • Class C – Traffic lights signals.
  • Class D – Carriageway markings and kerb markings.


There is a reason for the creation and implementation of signage, and the most obvious one is the protection and prevention of accidents. Therefore, it is integral for the public to learn more about the four categories of road signs in Kenya and their meanings to create a safe environment. In some countries, there are up to 5 types of traffic signs.

Class A – Regulatory road signs

Road signs and meaningsRegulatory road signs. Photo:, @Muhura Dedan
Source: UGC



Road signs and meaningsRegulatory road signs. Photo:, @Muhura Dedan
Source: UGC



Road signs and meaningsRegulatory road signs. Photo:, @Muhura Dedan
Source: UGC



The first class of road signs in Kenya referred to as regulatory signs, ordinarily, have a circle with a blue or white background. All circle road signs fall under this category. However, sometimes you might find some Class A signs on the road with an octagon or inverted triangle.




You will notice from the road signs and meanings chart that the octagon is often associated with the stop sign, which is very common on the roads, and you probably would not miss it. Drivers ought to adhere to the regulatory signs no matter what.



Road signs and meaningsWarning signs. Photo:, @Muhura Dedan
Source: UGC

Road signs and meaningsWarning signs. Photo:, @Muhura Dedan
Source: UGC



The second category is the warning or class B signs. These prohibitory road signs are meant to pre-empt a hazard ahead and prepare the driver to take caution.



They are mainly red triangles with black symbols except for two chevron signs with styled arrows. Some of the most common warning road signs on Kenyan roads include:


  • Falling rocks ahead signs.
  • The river bends crossing road signs.
  • Blinds spots road signs.
  • Speed bump road signs.
  • Traffic merging head signs.
  • Traffic signals ahead signs.
  • Uneven roads surface ahead road signs.
  • Riverbanks without barriers ahead road signs.
  • The road narrows from the right and left ahead road signs.

All you have to do is check for the road signs with names and learn how to interpret them because a slight variation in a sign could change its meaning. Also, if you miss a meaning, you are likely to cause an accident, and you do not want that to happen.

Class C – Traffic lights

Road signs and meaningsTraffic lights. Photo:, @Muhura Dedan
Source: UGC




Categories C possesses various numerous traffic light signage that represents different instructions and alerts to the road user. For instance, the traffic light signals, red, green, and amber, must be adhered to at every junction to ascertain proper traffic flow and avoid confusion on busy roads.



According to the Traffic Act (p. 218), the sequence of the lights shown to control the movement of vehicles shall be:

  • Red: All automobiles approaching this light ought to stop before crossing the stop line. Drivers should not cross the stop line unless the traffic light turns green and proceeding does not endanger other road users’ lives.
  • Red and amber (light up together): Immediately after the appropriate duration, the traffic light turn amber in addition to the red that lit to stop the driver earlier. Drivers shouldn’t move since the red light is still on and its impact active. Only when the red and amber switch off are vehicles allowed to proceed. Overall, they imply an impending change.
  • Green: The green light signifies movement, and when on, the amber and red are off. This way, drivers can approach the junction, but must strictly adhere to other road safety rules. If there are uniformed police at the intersection, drivers must obey their instructions as well.
  • Amber: The amber light, illuminated alone, follows the green light that notifies drivers to move. All vehicles that are in motion on the lane when the light comes up must stop. The only exception is automobiles that are too close to the stop, and terminating their movement would endanger road users’ lives.



The most important rules include these four combinations. However, it is strongly recommended that you read all the traffic rules and strictly follow them to avoid accidents. Also, this helps you from being fined for traffic offences.

Sometimes, you might find some traffic lights with other bulbs and arrows that help in directing traffic. For instance, a green arrow pointing to the left tells the driver that they can proceed to that section of the road regardless of other lights’ state. The opposite is also true, whereby the arrow might be in red.

Class D – Carriageway and kerb markings

These types of road signs are ordinarily painted on road surfaces and kerbs. Often, they are in yellow or white. You have probably noticed continuous or broken lines on highways that split road lanes between oncoming and ongoing traffic on single-carriage roads. This is an excellent example of carriage and kerb markings in Kenya.



Yellow: Often, the longitudinal ones are used to regulate and separate traffic flow in opposite directions. Usually, they should be on your right-hand side when you are driving. In other instances, the yellow lines are used to mark kerb markings to imply that you are not allowed to park or stop in that area.

White: Usually, they are seen on carriageways and kerbs. Continuous longitudinal lines are restrictive while broken ones are permissive. In an instance you see double continuous lines, you should know that there is maximum restriction. Thus, you are prohibited from crossing or straddling them.

Kerb markings: Continuous yellow lines indicate that all vehicles are prohibited from stopping or parking beside the line. The only road users allowed to stop beside the lines are bicycle riders.

Pedestrian crossings: These are common, especially on busy roads. The Zebra crossing, for instance, indicates that pedestrians are crossing in that area. It is among the significant road signs in Kenya. Usually, they are painted in longitudinal or sometimes along with traffic flow directions. You might also spot them in perpendicular or transverse lines.



One of the most common such signs on Kenyan roads is the Zebra crossing. You will find this among the most crucial road signs and their meanings during driving classes because of its colossal safety significance. It is painted on the road in areas where people or children often cross to give them the right of way.

What are the 8 colours used for road signs?

In addition to understanding Kenyan road signs and their meanings, you may also want to know what the colours on them mean. Below are the most common colours used on the Kenyan road signs:

Black and white

They are often used in informatory and regulatory signs. For instance, they are used in marking speed limits. If you have noticed, most speed limits are in black and on white backgrounds.


The yellow colour is common with warning signs. It may indicate that one is supposed to slow down or drive with caution. At times, it may be used together with the green colour.




Like yellow, it may be used to warn motorists of a temporary. For example, they may be used on signs that inform motorist about ongoing construction work. Often, the orange colour is used alongside a black one.


Green is usually used for guide signs. For example, they are used to tell motorist where they are and the road they are supposed to take. Also, they indicate the distance one is supposed to cover to reach their destination.


Brown is used on signs that convey less critical information. They are meant to command the attention of a motorist. Where are they used? Parks and recreation parks.


Similar to green, blue is used for guide signs. The colour is common on signs that indicate rest places, gas stations, hospitals, and lodging.


In most instance, red indicates danger. For this reason, it is used on signs that pass crucial/regulatory information to motorists. Overall, it is among the most important in the 3 categories of signs (warning, regulatory, and warning).



Motorists and pedestrians must abide and adhere to the road signs and meanings as stipulated by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA). Arguably, there can be sanity on the roads if every driver sticks to the provided signage on the roads. Consequently, this will reduce road accidents significantly.



DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional help or advice and should not be relied on to make decisions. Any action taken upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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