Do you know the Rules of the Road at Road Works?

We would like to share some info with road users about the rules of the road when driving in areas of construction/ road works. A question was sent to the Arrive Alive website and we provided some clarity.


“Do speed limits put in place for raod works being done apply if there are no road works happening at the time? For example on the road to Durban there are numerous road works happening during the week, but at weekends nothing is being done, but the yellow and red signs are still up. Are these speed limits still valid or not?

Also on the N3 from Malibongwe to Buccleuch there are 80km/h signs but no sign of any road works actually happening. How valid are these signs? Most motorists seem to ignore them, and even get angry at people actually sticking to those limits.”


Many people seem to have forgotten or never have learned that the yellow temporary signs that are erected on our roads are in fact temporary signs and override the existence of any other road sign that may be in existence. They are not, in the case of speed limit signs, recommended speed limits nor do they have any form of time limitation attached to them unless a specific limitation is placed with them.

It makes no difference whether road-works are taking place at the time that you go through the area or not. It also makes no difference whether the day in question is a weekday, a public holiday, or a Sunday like so many people seem to think.

I know and fully understand your concerns about other motorists who do not obey the temporary road signs and speed limitations that are in force, and to be honest with you most of them do not obey the permanent ones either. The more people that do the better and I strongly recommend that you do not get intimidated by impatient and aggressive motorists who seem to think that the speed limit and other road rules do not apply to them. I know that this is a tall order, but believe me it is what I do and I refuse to break the law just because someone else does not feel that it applies to them. You should too.

There are technical issues that affect the validity of many of these signs and I can tell you that many of them that have been erected during the road-works have not complied with the prescribed requirements in the National Road Traffic Regulations and were therefore invalid, however the ordinary motorist must assume that a sign that is erected does meet the prescribed requirements and therefore should be obeyed.

Best Regards,

Howard Dembovsky
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa

Also view:

Road Safety near Construction Zones/ Road Works

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