List of road signs in South Africa with their meaning

Currently, pictorial road signs in South Africa have replaced the words with symbols used in the past in a move to help make them universal so that even foreigners in the country can understand the signs.

Moreover, pictorial road traffic signs are simple and minimize the safety hazards of driving.

Road sign SA have been adopted from the SADC (Southern African Development Community) –RTSM, a manual aimed at harmonizing traffic signs in the country.

Knowledge of your K53 road signs is imperative for all users regardless of whether you are driver, cyclist, or pedestrian, because this improves safety for everyone. Which are the commonly used traffic signs South Africa?

Categories of South African road signs

What are the colors of road signs? Road signs for learners licence are categorized into three types, which include regulatory, warning, and guide signs. These three categories of these symbols can be temporary or permanent, and the difference in colour between the two is that a permanent one has a white background while temporary road signs South Africa have a yellow background. Normally, a warning sign will be in a red triangle that points upwards, with a black pictogram that describes the obstruction or danger. On the other hand, speed limit signs South Africa are red circles with the speed limitation in black. Besides this, road safety signs also come in various shapes that assist the users in times of poor visibility like a dense fog.

South African road signs and their meanings

Let us now look at the purpose of the different these important traffic symbols

1. Regulatory signs

Regulatory traffic signs are those that guide users of their legal responsibilities such as speed limits, parking controls, and prohibited movement, among others. For this reason, these pictorial traffic symbols are divided into four categories which are: Control, Command, Prohibition, Comprehensive, and Reservation signs. Majority of these important traffic symbols have a rectangular shape with a black legend on a white background. Below are some of the commonly used regulatory road sign and meanings and pictures.

Control signs

These traffic symbols tell you what to do. They include:

Command signs

They include:

Prohibition signs

Most of these symbols, if not all, have a line crossing in the middle. For example;

Reservation signs

As the name suggests, these signs indicate that the space is for specific vehicles.

Comprehensive signs 


2. Warning signs

Warning road signs South Africa are those that pinpoint hazards that may not be recognizable to the approaching driver as they be found on the next path or lane. These traffic road signs are shaped in a diamond and have a black legend or symbol on a yellow background showing caution, although some are triangular in shape. Common warning symbols include:


Means that there are wild animals ahead.


When you come across the image above, know that there is unprotected jetty edge or river bank ahead.


This sign simply means children ahead.


This is a sign of crossroad ahead.



Some road signs with names are self-explanatory.



This implies crosswinds ahead.


Here, you need to slow down because there is a sharp curve ahead.


This sign alerts you that there is a roundabout ahead.

Other common warning images along the way are:

Advisory speed signs usually aid the driver to negotiate bends safely.

Conditions of the way being used, for example slippery when wet.

Advance warning of traffic control devices like traffic lights.

3. Guide signs

A guide road sign is that which notify users of routes, amenities along the way, direction and distance to destination, as well as point of interests.

K53 hand signals

A good driver does not stop at road signs pictures. It is mandatory for all users to know k53 hand signals so that they can use them or recognize them when other drivers use them along the way. These hand gestures are used when one is signaling their intention to turn or move right or left.

  • Right turn hand signals – horizontally stick your arm as far as possible, turn your palm forward while clinging your fingers together.
  • Left turn hand signal – for a left turn, put out your arm horizontally as far as possible with your forearm facing towards the ground while the hand is directing to the sky.
  • Stop hand signal – if you want to stop, put your arm out of the window in a horizontal manner. Maintain your fingers together and keep your palm open while facing frontward till you feel its time to stop.

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