Ensuring Safe Commutes: How Road Cones Contribute to Accident Prevention


Standing alone in the road, the interestingly shaped road cone seems like a simple enough object. But do not let its unassuming appearance fool you. Road cones, also known as traffic cones, orange cones, or witches’ hats play a vital role in keeping our roadways safe, offering us a comfortable commute and preventing accidents.


5 Reasons Why the Road Cone is More Than Just a Warning Sign


Road Cone

While its bright colour certainly grabs our attention, the simple road cone does so much more than just act as a visual warning. They are specifically and strategically placed on road construction projects and more to:


  1. Channel Traffic: By creating temporary lanes and diversions, the humble traffic cone assists in guiding road users around potential hazards, preventing head-on collisions and sideswiping.


  1. Reduce Speed: Simply the visual presence of a road cone naturally encourages road users to slow down as, collectively, they create a buffer zone around the hazard, giving drivers more time to react.


  1. Protect Workers: Traffic cones establish a physical barrier between work zones, accident scenes, and other hazards, safeguarding those workers and individuals who are most vulnerable to injury.


  1. Maintain Order: These witches’ hats help to organise chaotic situations, directing traffic flow and preventing confusion, especially during emergencies or unexpected road or lane closures.


  1. Protect Pedestrians: Inversely, members of the public can also be protected by the simple road cone. Individuals can be warned of missing or open manholes or potholes or be guided safely through congested human traffic areas.


The Science Behind the Safety of the Traffic Cone


The effectiveness of traffic cones is not simply based on hearsay. When these items of road safety equipment are properly implemented, typically, there are fewer accidents. This is attributed to several factors, among them being:


  • Enhanced Visibility: The bright orange colour, and when used at night, the bright reflective collars on road cones, make them highly visible, even in low-light conditions, ensuring road users can see them from a distance.


  • Predictable Patterns: Traffic cones are typically employed in specific formations that drivers intuitively understand, like when they are channelled into a single lane from a double lane, for example.


  • Visual Impact: The sight of a traffic cone usually triggers caution in road users. Upon seeing the cone, drivers are immediately reminded to be more alert and focused on the road.


Beyond the Road Cone


While the classic road cone is the most commonly used piece of road safety equipment, they can also be used in conjunction with a host of other traffic control devices to avoid accidents and address various other situations, for example:


  • Water-Filled Barriers: Although these interlocking barriers are not designed to resist vehicle impacts, once they are set in place and weighed down with either sand or water, they make for a formidable safety barrier in tandem with road cones.


  • Delineators: These reflective plates may be used during the day and at nighttime due to their reflective ability. They are accompanied by a footplate that weighs them down to prevent large vehicles and trucks from blowing them over. Also, together with water-filled barriers and traffic cones, they ensure your safe commute through road works areas.


A Shared Responsibility


While the road cone plays a crucial role in traffic control and road safety, its effectiveness is completely dependent on drivers and their behaviour on the road. Speeding through cone zones or attempting to navigate around them can have disastrous outcomes and consequences.


So, to minimise accidents and ensure a safe commute to their destinations, road users are advised to always drive responsibly and adhere to signage, flag wavers, and other road-safety equipment.


Do it Right with Armco Superlite


At Armco Superlite, we are the leading manufacturer and supplier of superior-quality W-Beam guardrails – galvanized or plain steel – and other road safety equipment in southern Africa and have been for decades.


If you need traffic cones or any other world-leading road safety equipment for your next project, consider contacting us.