The Highway Code for Beginners

Our roads are used by many people - drivers, bikers, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians. Each group uses a different mode of transport which determines their speed, security and limitations. If it wasn't for the Highway Code, it would be an absolute chaos as everyone would be free to do what they want and that would surely result in accidents and traffic jams all over the place.

Fortunately there are rules to govern how to behave on public roads in Mauritius for the benefit of everyone of us. Can you imagine how dangerous it would if there was no right of way? It's not entirely safe with all those motoring laws in place because of some crazy drivers but it would be certain death if no rules existed.

Reading traffic signs

Traffic signs are an important part of the Highway Code and we get to see plenty of them when we're out and about. Even people who've never sat the driving test know what a No Entry sign mean and some of them even recognise the No Right/Left turn too. However a more complete knowledge of the signs is required if you want to get a driving licence and learning the meaning of each of them will get you through the oral test and help you when you're driving as well.

dangerous bend
Dangerous right bend
narrow road
Road narrows on the right
slippery road
Slippery road
queues likely
Queues likely
danger
Danger ahead
cycle route
Warning of cycle route ahead
pedestrian
Pay attention to pedestrians
double bend
Dangerous bend, right first then left
deer crossing
Deers crossing
compulsory footpath
Compulsory footpath
end of compulsory cycle track
End of compulsory cycle track
compulsory horse track
Compulsory horse track
pass to the right
Pass to the right
right direction to be followed
Right direction to be followed
straight ahead
Straight ahead
speed limit of 60
Speed limit of 60Km/h
no entry for cycles
No entry for cycles
no entry for pedestrians
No entry for pedestrians
access restricted depending on axle weight
No entry for vehicles exceeding 4.8 tons on one axle
height restricted access
No entry for vehicles exceeding 3.1m in height
no entry for goods vehicle
No entry for goods vehicle

Knowing about the rules of the road

There are some DOs and DON'Ts when you're on the road. For a pedestrian, it's looking left, right and again left before crossing, for motorcyclists to wear fluorescent jackets when riding at night and for drivers not to enter the yellow criss-cross box unless they are turning right and oncoming traffic is blocking them. This is in no way a comprehensive list of what you're allowed to do and what not but it only shows how there are different rules for each road user and how knowing what's applicable to you makes it safer for you and other road users.

Understanding traffic signals given by drivers and the police

A straight arm hanging outside the driver's seat of a car indicates the driver wants to turn right. Similarly there are other signs for turning left and to warn others you intend to stop. On top of that, police officers may use hand signals to direct traffic especially in areas of congestion (high traffic) or when there's an accident. You should be able to understand those hand gestures and act on them accordingly.