Key road safety rules, regulations and standards

Road traffic safety

Elements of Safe Roads

Progress is what today’s India is all about. People trade 24/7 on roads that are fast matching up to international standards. Unfortunately, when it comes to safety on the same roads, India’s progress is beset with the highest road fatalities in the world.

Roads are also critical for the development of India’s rural areas. Markets, health, education and other services can only be accessed through rural roads and these comprise approximately 80% of the total road network in India.

To push for safer Indian roads, many road safety initiatives and best practices have been implemented by the government – some of them include the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ Specifications of Road and Bridge Works, and the India Roads Congress’ (IRC) Code of Practice for Road Signs (IRC 67:2012).

Road safety is also where 3M Traffic Safety and Security Division aims to make a difference in. 3M is a member of IRC, H1 committee (Road Safety, Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering committee), H7 committee (Road Safety and Design), H8 committee (Urban Roads), H10 committee (Hill and Tunnel Roads) and International Road Federation (IRF) – India chapter

Here, we discuss key safety regulations and standards for Traffic Signs, Road Pavement Markers, Raised Pavement Markers and Road Delineators to give you an overview of what makes up the elements of safe roads in India.

Safety standards for Traffic Signs and Road Pavement Markers

road traffic signs

Illustration 1: Traffic Signs and Pavement Markers associated with four-armed priority junctions.

In this illustration, we highlight key road traffic safety regulations and standards that govern road Traffic Signs and Road Pavement Markings for a sample road intersection.

Traffic Signs


Road traffic signs promote road safety and efficiency by providing the orderly movement of all road users on all roads in urban and non-urban areas. Road signs also notify road users of regulations and provide warning and guidance needed for safe, uniform and efficient traffic flows.

• Signs are classified into three categories: Mandatory/Regulatory signs, Cautionary/Warning signs, and Informatory/Guide signs.

• To make traffic signs more visible and legible at night, Cautionary/Warning signs and Regulatory signs other than those regulating parking and stopping in lighted streets of built-up areas, to be built with reflective sheeting.

Retroreflective sign sheeting is divided into three classes:

Class A sheeting: Engineering and Super Engineering grade as per ASTM D 4956-09, Type I and II.

Class B sheeting: High Intensity and High Intensity Prismatic grade sheeting as per ASTM D 4956-09, Type III and IV.

Class C sheeting: All Micro Prismatic grade sheeting as per ASTM D 4956-09 Type VIII, IX and XI.

Suggested Guidelines for Usage of Retro Reflective Sheeting (Table 6.2 of IRC 67:2012)

types of retroreflective sign sheeting

*Type III sheeting is available as glass-beaded and micro prismatic (ASTM D4956-09). The light reflecting efficiency of glass-beaded sheeting is lower than micro prismatic sheeting. Type III or IV sheeting would be suitable for traffic signs placed in Illustration 1.

Warranty and durability

• Warranties for Class A, B and C retroreflective sheeting should cover 5, 7 and 10 years respectively for field performance [3M offers 7- to 12-year warranties; learn more].

• Warranty should include screen-printed areas, cut-out sheeting, and cut-out durable transparent overlay film.

• Contracts shall indicate the minimum retroreflectivity of the signs at the end of the warranty period.

  • road safety mandatory signs

    Illustration 2: Recommended traffic sign height and kerb clearances.

    Traffic Signs

    Key standards on sign placement, heights and clearances

    • On kerbed roads, the ground-mounted sign shall not be less than 0.3m away from the kerb line, and shall not come in the way of vehicular traffic. The bottom edge of the lowest sign shall not be less than 2.1m and not more than 2.5m above the kerb.

    • On roads without kerbs, the bottom edge of the lowest sign shall not be less than 2m and not more than 2.5m above the crown of the pavement.

    • Where signs are erected above footpaths or in areas used by pedestrians, a headroom of minimum 2.1m is to be provided.

    • For signs of the same class on the same route, the height between the lower edge of the sign and the road should be as uniform as possible.

  • road traffic signs in india

    llustration 3: Stop line markings and traffic sign placements for a left-turning road.

    Traffic Signs

    Key regulations on ‘GIVE WAY’ traffic signs at minor road intersections

    • The sign should be 1.5m to 12m in front of the vehicle stoppage point.

    • The 'GIVE WAY' line should be marked at the entry of the junction.

    • The ‘GIVE WAY’ traffic sign may be installed after the ‘GIVE WAY’ road marking.

    • On a road like this, where the designated road speed is 31-50km/h, shoulder-mounted advanced direction signs should be 45m from the junction, and 45m away from its preceding repeat sign (derived from Table 11.1 – Letter Size and Siting of Information Signs, Shoulder & Gantry Mounted from IRC:67:2012).

    • When several mandatory signs are placed along the same section of road, the signs must be located 0.6*V metres apart (where ‘V’ is the 85th percentile speed in km/h of the road).

    • In Illustration 3, where the road is designed for speeds up to 50km/h, the distance between signs should be 20.4m.

Pavement Markings

Key regulations on stop lines and ‘STOP’ or ‘GIVE WAY’ markings

• Two patterns can be used: a single stop line and double stop line.

• Double stop lines consist of two continuous lines each 200mm wide, spaced 300mm apart, and supplemented by a ‘STOP’ road marking or a ‘GIVE WAY’ marking.

• Stop lines shall be supplemented by a ‘STOP’ or ‘GIVE WAY’ marking so that the top of the word or symbol is 2m to 3m from the nearest part of the double stop line.

• Stop lines at the intersection shall be equidistant from the centre of the intersection.

For the full list regulations and standards, please download the Code of Practice for Road Signs by the Indian Roads Congress (IRC 67:2012).

Improving safety through science

Learn more about our world-class traffic safety solutions designed to improve the safety challenges of specific road conditions.

Improving safety through science

Rural Road



Improving safety through science

Learn more about our world-class traffic safety solutions designed to improve the safety challenges of specific road conditions.

Improving safety through science

Rural Road



Safety standards for Raised Pavement Markers (RPM) and Road Delineators

solar road studs

Illustration 4: Raised/Reflective Pavement Markers (or Road Studs/Cat's eyes) and Road Delineators associated with an urban intersection.

We discuss key regulations and standards road regarding Raised/Reflective Pavement Markers and Road Delineators for a sample urban intersection.

Raised Pavement Markers (Road and Solar-powered Studs)


Raised (or reflective) Pavement Markers (RPMs), or road studs, are devices that are bonded or anchored within the road surface for lane marking and delineation for night-time visibility. Solar Studs share the same function by emitting super bright LED light. They are also built to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Reasons to use road or Solar Studs at pedestrian crossings

• Adequate visibility so that the driver of approaching vehicle has a clear view of the pedestrian footpath.

• In urban areas, it may be advantageous to install Solar Studs along with road pavement markings to warn drivers in advance about the presence of the crossing.


Key regulations for RPMs and Solar Studs

• In accordance to ASTM D 4280, both types of road markers should support a load of 13,635kg.

• Solar Studs should have water resistance that meet the IP 65 requirements in accordance to IS 12063:1987 Category 2 for protection against water ingress.

• Its super bright LEDs should provide long range visibility of more than 800m, with flashing rates not less than 1 Hz.

• No nails should be used to affix the marker so as not to pose as a safety hazard.

• Each reflector or combination on each face of the RPM should have a Coefficient of Luminous Intensity (C.I.L.) higher than the figures in the tables below.

Minimum C.I.L. Values for Category 'A 'and 'B' Studs

  • minimum C.I.L. values for Category A reflective road studs

    Minimum C.I.L. Values for Category ‘A’ Studs [Table 800-13, Specifications for Roads & Bridge Works (5th Revision)]

  • minimum C.I.L. values for Category B reflective road studs

    Minimum C.I.L. Values for Category ‘B’ Studs [Table 800-14, Specifications for Roads & Bridge Works (5th Revision)]


1. The entrance angle of 0º U corresponds to the normal aspect of the reflectors when the road stud is installed on horizontal road surfaces.

2. Road studs with one or more corner cube reflectors are in Category ‘A’ while those with one or more bi-convex reflectors are in Category ‘B’.

(Learn more about 3M Raised Pavement Markers which exceed the Category ‘A’ requirements.)

road delineators

Illustration 5: Retroreflectorised Road Delineators on a curved road, see notes below.

Road Delineators


Road Delineators outline and define the safe driving path by indicating the horizontal and vertical profiles of the roadway and obstructions such as guardrails, channelising islands and bridges. They should not be regarded as a substitute for warning signs, road markings or safety barriers – they are basically driving aids. 

Key regulations for Road Delineators

• Delineators should be retro reflectorised with an encapsulated lens.

• They should be visible from 300m under clear weather conditions or when illuminated by the upper beams of car headlights.

• As a rule, delineators should be erected at the edge of the usable shoulder.

• On kerbed sections, they should be placed 0.6m to 1.5m from the kerb face.

• On straight sections, they should be spaced uniformly 50m to 70m from each other.

• At problem locations like causeways, they can be installed 5m to 10m apart.

• For horizontally curved roads, the spacing should be fixed in relation to the curve radius as given below:

Recommended Spacing for Roadway Indicators on Horizontal Curves [Table 1, Recommended Practice for Road Delineators (IRC:79)]

  • road safety delineators on curves
  • Notes:

    1. The spacing on the horizontal curve should be fixed relative to the curve radius.

    2. Some Delineators should be continued beyond the curve on either side of the road.

    3. The spacing of the first, second and third Delineators on the approaches in advance and beyond the curve should be 1.8S, 3S and 6S respectively (where S is the normal spacing of the curve) but not exceeding 50m.

    View our Rigid Retroreflective Delineator that employs the highest standard Grade XI sheeting

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