Road signs are signs erected at the side of or above roads to give instructions to road users. It serves as a way ofcontrolling traffic and also give information to drivers and pedestrians thus it communicates visually to the road users.
This has penchant to brief all road users including cyclist and pedestrians to anticipate what is ahead of them on the road.
It is however unfortunate that despite the provision of these road signs along or above our roads, road carnages continue to be a rife phenomenon in Ghana.
For some experts in the transport sector, the most common causes of road traffic accidents in Ghana include but not limited to gross indiscipline on our roads, overloading, fatigue driving, drunk driving, over speeding, broken down vehicles on roads, driving on worn second hand tires and non-existing road markings.
According to the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) (2011), there were 7 accidents per day across the country. In December 2012 alone, 246 people died and 1,260 were injured in car accidents.
To hit the nail on the head, Ghanaians have nearly forgotten the number one tragedy which reduces the human capital in the country yet still attention has not been drawn to such (unforeseen) blockages of life.
During a ride through Tamale, the capital of the Northern region of Ghana, I observed that the National Road Safety Authority and the Police have left the inhabitants to dig their own graves and set death traps in the context of not providing adequate road signs or the total lack of it where needed the most.
In urban areas particularly the capital of the country, Accra, almost all the road signs are in deplorable conditions – some are broken, other road signs also do not necessarily relay information on what lies ahead on the road.
In some instances, citizens of the country and people of affluence in the society who should know better have converted the original purpose road signs to make it an avenue for advertisement.
As you walk the streets of the country, you would observe that most posters normally of politicians, movies and fetish priests have made the road signs their space for advertisement where they post their fliers. This callous attitude is not right!
It is most worrying to note that the is no fear, care and attention being given to maintain government property and so people use these signboards or better still road signs to post fliers of funeral invitations, movie promotions, campaign fliers of politicians and other products.
Many organizations have also capitalized on the lawlessness in the country to advertise their goods on such erected platforms which is very unacceptable and therefore putting all road users at a higher risk.
It is said that “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” – an adage which lays credence to the fact that to be given prior knowledge of possible dangers or problems gives one a tactical advantage or better still means that if you know about something before it happens you will be prepared for it.
How then do persons who perpetrate theses illegality of defacing road signs expect road users to have prior knowledge on what lies ahead on the road and adhere to them to reduce road accidents in the country?
Human lives are always at the highest risk of all since the road users would only see the defaced road sign hence interrupting the information being given to the road user – a situation if left unchecked will serve as a catalyst in the increase road accidents.
In advanced countries like the United States of America , United Arab Emirates, France and the UK, it’s impossible to see such negative advancements that is gradually being normalized in the Ghanaian society.
Stakeholders in the transport and road sector of the country must rise up to the occasion and stamp out this practice.
The agencies must enlighten and educate people about the importance of our road signs, and also see to it that the perpetuators of these illegalities are brought to book.
This would serve as a deterrent to others who will want to follow suit and endanger the lives of the Ghanaian people.
Road signs need to be preserved, protected and maintained to inform the road users about what is ahead of them and save lives.
Source: Sedrick Robert Zu,
National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS).