Reservation Signs vs Command Signs | Blog

The blue Reservation Signs and blue Command signs in the South African road signs system seem to be misunderstood at times, and I was asked to help clarify the situation.

Firstly, both these classes of signs are Regulatory signs, meaning that they MUST be obeyed. The rectangular blue signs are Reservation signs, while the round blue signs are Command signs.

Reservation sign

Meaning: To reserve a particular lane, road or a portion of a road (R) or a parking area (P) for the exclusive use of the class of road user depicted by the icon on the sign.

In the example above, the roadway (R) is reserved exclusively for the use of goods vehicles with a gross vehicle or vehicle combination mass of more than 10 tonnes. However, they are not required to drive there even though that road is set aside for their exclusive use if they wish to use it.

It means too that no other class of vehicle is allowed to drive there.

Command sign

Meaning: To command a road user to take a certain action, such as turn on the headlights, pass an object to the left, or turn at the junction. It also commands the driver of a vehicle of the class shown on the sign to drive in a particular lane, or on a particular road or portion of a road.

In the example above, drivers of vehicles with a gross vehicle or vehicle combination mass of more than 10 tonnes are commanded to drive in that particular lane, or on that road or portion of the road. In other words they must drive there, with no option to use another part of the road.

Like the reservation sign, this command sign also means that no other class of vehicle is allowed to drive there.

To summarise…

  • For the Reservation (rectangular) sign, that class of vehicle MAY (is allowed to)  drive there.
  • For the Command (round) sign, that class of vehicle MUST drive there.
  • For both of the above signs, no other class of vehicle may drive there.

 

The official wording per the National Road Traffic Act


Image by courtesy of LexisNexis

 


Image by courtesy of LexisNexis

 
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