Driving a vehicle on any road is a huge responsibility. You cannot just drive anytime you want when you do not have the right skills that make you eligible and confident to do so. Even if you have a driver’s license, the best thing to hold is the certainty that you can drive safely for yourself, for your passengers and for other people on and along the road.
Some people think that driving is to look cool and to move leisurely as you want, but those are not the priorities when you are a driver. Although they are bonuses, what matters most actually is the knowledge that you have about driving. There are so many things that you must learn aside from making the car move.
Driving is so much more than anyone (especially non drivers) thinks. Focus is very important as well as the awareness of specific things you see on the road made to guide and instruct drivers and pedestrians too. Are you a driver? An aspiring driver? Or someone who wants to be a passenger forever? Regardless who you are among those, here’s a list that would expand your knowledge more about roads you travel through.
Check out these 5 must-understand things on the road for all drivers of all levels and all vehicle types!
 LINE MARKINGS
Vehicles must maintain proper distance between each other while moving on the road. Lanes should be well-respected. Spaces must be allotted as needed. Areas where to turn should be known. Line markings on the road enable drivers to follow these rules more appropriately.
All drivers should be able to comprehend what line markings are and what every kind of them signifies. Line markings are those lines, words, patterns or other devices you see on roadways. They denote official information that everybody must obey because if not, it will be considered a violation and/or accidents might occur.
In parking lots, you will see the lines that separate the vehicle slots from each other. These help drivers to know whether or not the position of their vehicle is parked straightly. Parking properly is important to avoid parking accidents, even the littlest ones such as scratches and mini bumps usually happening when doors bump the car on the side due to little spaces.
On the road, if it’s a two-way pathway, there is a line separating the lanes going the two opposite directions. There are other different line markings to be strictly followed such as the double solid yellow line which indicates that no vehicle is allowed to cross it from any direction. The broken white lines on the road divide two lanes advancing in the same route. A yellow box with an X in the middle stands for an intersection; the vehicles may come from all directions. These are just some.
With all of the line markings present on the road, drivers must be completely knowledgeable of their meanings. If you are a driver, and you are kind of unfamiliar with a certain line marking you have seen, do not take risks of guessing what it means because you might be putting your life in danger. When you do not follow these line markings, responsible drivers who properly observe them will get angry at you because aside from causing inconvenience, you might be putting their lives at risk too.
Some road line markings could be confusing if you do not know what they mean, and many of them do not have words, so understanding them before you roll is a requirement!
 ROAD SIGNS
Just like line markings, road signs are crucial. The difference is that they are on steel boards. Well, just by their name, you know that they give you “signs” for you to be careful and to be informed clearly. They convey traffic regulations that when disregarded will be equivalent to violations. Road signs serve as warnings for probable dangers, so drivers can drive more cautiously.
Road conditions are also being introduced, so drivers can slow down and/or be extra alert. Road signs also directly inform you of your current location, the route to your destination, and the areas of services you are trying to find. They advise you if there is a restaurant or a gas station along your way.
Examples of road signs for restrictions include the No U-Turn sign, the No Left Turn and No Right Turn signs with their respective arrows and a prohibition symbol over each, the Stop Sign, the No Parking sign with a P inside a prohibition symbol and the No Trucks sign with a silhouette of a truck inside a prohibition symbol.
The Pedestrian Crossing sign must be paid attention to by drivers by slowing down in case someone is about to cross or crossing the road. This is also the same thing for the School Zone sign which notifies drivers that children might be running while crossing the street, carrying heavy bags or playing around. The Right/Left Curve Ahead signs alert drivers that they are approaching a curve which could be an accident-prone area or a blind spot.
For temporary road conditions, road signs such as the Men At Work sign, the Road Closed sign and the Construction In Progress sign can be seen. Speed limits are also indicated by road signs to control traffic.
Road signs are numerous, and they may vary in different countries as well. They are placed wisely according to the needs of the areas they are located in. Drivers are made prepared by them, so sharp eyes when driving are needed!
 DRIVERS’ HAND SIGNALS
Signal lights on cars are significant so other drivers will know whether a certain car is moving towards left or right or is going to park. The hazard light is also a signal light that may indicate that the car is in an emergency and needs to move more swiftly than others. It could also be used when the driver wants the other cars to go past his/hers.
However, when signal lights are broken, thus, dysfunctional, drivers use hand signals. These hand signals are mutually known and understood by all drivers, mostly across the globe.
This is for drivers; if you are one, you must know these signals. For stopping, put the left arm out the driver’s window. Point it down with your palm facing back. It will inform other drivers that your car is going to slow down to a stop. For going to the left, extend the left arm straight out the window, and the palm facing front. For going to the right, extend the same left arm out the window, but the elbow is bent, the hand points upwards, and the palm facing front.
There are other hand signals used depending on the situation. Some drivers also just obviously point out where they are going by using their fingers. Drivers must totally understand these hand signals to be in harmony with other drivers on the road. These can aid newbie drivers to be helped and more given consideration on the road.
 TRAFFIC ENFORCERS’ JOB
Traffic enforcers are on the road to manage and oversee traffic and all road conditions. They enforce the rules of the roads. They are police officers who direct traffic, ensuring that regulations are followed, and discipline is constantly maintained. When traffic lights are under repair, they give directions to drivers in replacement of those. They also handle situations of accidents and road misunderstandings among drivers and drivers or drivers and pedestrians.
You will see traffic enforcers in their uniforms, so you know when you need to be alert for their instructions. They address all kinds of traffic violations, so many drivers are afraid when they see them on the road, but you should not be if you have done no wrong. Why? Because you might just make a mistake if you are too nervous! Educating the public on traffic laws and safety guidelines is part of their job, so understand that they want peace and order to be maintained on the road, and it is good to learn from them.
All drivers must know the job of traffic enforcers, so they would not be misled. Also, it is important, so you will know whether or not someone is a true traffic police or just an opportunist trying to rob drivers of their driver’s license, personal identification cards, money and other possessions such as the car itself.
 PEDESTRIANS’ DISCIPLINE
Drivers probably have been told that whatever accidents towards pedestrians happen on the roads, they are always going to be the drivers’ fault. That’s just unfair, especially when the pedestrians are the wrong people here.
To avoid unwanted situations of getting blamed, of course, dash cams are tough sources of evidence, so it pays off to have one inside your vehicle. But, do not wait for accidents to even happen! You should be aware that some pedestrians are responsible, yet many are irresponsible. Some carelessly cross roads, walk inattentively beside the roads, use smart phones and wear earphones while on the road and many more annoying habits that surely piss off drivers!
There are several road signs and rules made for pedestrians, yet many violate them too. So you, drivers, can avoid being involved in happenings caused by their lack of discipline, be extra guarded and efficient when you drive. If necessary, you can call out pedestrians who are thoughtless on roads and streets! They need to be informed and awakened too!
When you hold the steering wheel on the road, you are also holding your life and the lives of many inside the vehicle you are driving and outside it too. It is vital that all drivers are fully aware of what the above-mentioned things mean, so they can make sure of them as needed.
Where these things are located should be known by drivers, so they would know where to look for directions. On the ground? On posts? On sidewalks? Keep in mind those signals and instructions on the road such as those indicated by line markings and road signs, designed for road safety.
Moreover, drivers must be conscious of the presence of particular people on the road such as traffic enforcers who have the authority to direct traffic. Understand rules to avoid violations. Being mindful of pedestrians is necessary since some might not be as responsible as others.
Road safety is not to be taken lightly, and drivers can greatly contribute to it in many ways like thoroughly understanding these things and more!
NICOLE ANN PORE (FROM THE PHILIPPINES) IS THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE.