JAM | May 16, 2023

How traffic signals play an important role in preventing road fatalities in Jamaica

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Several Jamaicans continue to lose their lives on the nation’s road ways daily despite efforts by government and non-governmental organizations to prevent speeding and reckless driving on the nation’s roadways.

Jamaica has an alarming rate of road fatalities. Last year, 488 Jamaicans died on the nation’s road crashes while 487 died the previous year.

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest method to prevent road crashes is public education on road safety.

The National Road Safety Council (NRSC), since its inception in 1993 have been carrying the mantle to promote road safety among Jamaicans through public campaigns and promotional activites.

Similar to the NRSC, every Jamaican have a role to play to ensure their safety and the safety of others while using the roadways. The importance of public education on how to safely use roads cannot be stressed enough, especially among young people who are more likely to be affected on the nation’s roads.

As the world observes National Road Safety Week (May 15-21) to spread awareness about road safety and the need to prevent road fatalities through proper law enforcement, let us go back to the basic and examine the importance of traffic signals.

Traffic signals

Traffic signals play an important role in ensuring that there is a smooth flow of traffic on the nation’s roads, thus allowing vehicles and pedestrians to cross an intersection to reduce the road crashes.

  • Red: The red signal means stop. If there is a sign that indicates that there is a left turn permitted while the traffic light shows red, then the traffic may proceed to turn left if it is safe to do so.
  • Yellow: The Yellow signal means ‘CAUTION’ the red signal is about to appear
  • Green: The green signal means ‘GO’ after yielding to vehicles and pedestrains that are already in the intersection

Common traffic signs

Traffic signs are usually erected at the side of or above roads to give instructions or provide information to road users.


The stop sign instructs motorists to come to a complete hault and make sure the intersection is safely clear of vehicles and pedestrians before continuing past the sign.

The give way or yield sign indicates that merging drivers must prepare to stop if necessary to let another driver proceed safely.

No U-turn

The no U-turn sign is usually located at an intersection which instructs motorists that they are not allowed to turn in the road to go the opposite direction.


The roundabout sign signals that motorists are about to enter a roundabout and are required to proceed with caution. The traffic in the roundabout has the right of way, therefore motorists entering the roundabout should yeild.


The children sign instruct motorists that they are entering a section where children will be crossing the road therefore they must proceed with caution and give way to pedestrians who are attempting to cross the street.

Narrow roadway

The narrow roadway sign is a warning sign for motorists which suggest that the road they are approaching will be narrow. This allows motorist to proceed with caution.

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