Proposed features/hazard

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Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: Espen
Tagging: hazard=various
Applies to: node/way
Definition: Hazardous/dangerous object
Drafted on: 2007-08-28


I suggest that hazard is introduced as a key. I want to tag hazards that come to a driver's attention through common traffic signs. Some traffic signs can be found on Wikipedia's Traffic signs-page. Such signs could be:

  • dangerous road junction
  • elk/moose can appear on road
  • rocks that may have fallen onto the road ahead
  • children playing in the road
  • crossing close to a school, often with reduced speed limit
  • farmyard, a road that goes through/close to a farm
  • horse with rider can be encountered alongside the road
  • etc.

Hazard tags would need to have a time factor associated with them, as they are usually temporary (in areas) - so that during the summer, hazard tag A shows up but then times out after 4 months, or during the winter tag B shows up, but leaves after winter is over.

Hazard tags could make a driver aware of possible hazards on the road ahead, and also make route decisions according to the possibility of hazard appearing. In example:

  • A dangerous junction is where accidents are known to happen and marked as such by a sign, could cause some drivers decide on another route
  • Elk/moose is most prone to appear on roads at nightfall, daybreak and at winter time if a lot of snow has fallen
  • Falling rocks are mostly a springtime problem due to ice melting, so drivers should slow down before any corners that block view ahead
  • Most children are only playing after school hours and on weekends
  • School pupils crossing the road happens mostly in school hours, but not during summer
  • etc.


This is an example of how i would imagine the proposed features to be:

Name Tagging Used on Definition Rendered as Status Draft start RFC start Vote start Vote end
Dangerous road hazard = dangerous_road node A road junction/section where accidents are known to happen "dangerous road" - sign. Undefined * * ' '
animal crossing hazard = animal_crossing way/node A place where wild animals are known to appear and could cause a hazard Belgian road sign A27.svg Undefined * * ' '
Rock slide hazard = rock_slide way/node Where rocks may have fallen onto the road ahead Belgium-trafficsign-a19.svg Undefined * * ' '
Farmyard hazard = farmyard way/node A place where a road pass through a farmyard area, and thus people or animals can be found on or close to the road. Often combined with a speed limit of 30km/h sign. * Undefined * * ' '
School zone hazard = school_zone way/node way: Streets near school, often with maxspeed=30. Node: with highway=crossing, place where pupils cross the way. 5Opx Undefined * * ' '
School crossing hazard = school_crossing node Generalized by the preceding? A place where pupils cross the way on schooldays.Often combined with a speed limit of 30km/h sign. "School children crossing the way" - sign Undefined * * ' '
Playing children hazard = playing_children way/node Playing children could be encountered on the road ahead. "Children can be found playing in the road" - sign Undefined * * ' '
Electromagnetic Radiation hazard = radiation way/node Could be dangerous for people with artificial pacemakers. D-W012 Warnung vor nicht ionisierender elektromagnetischer Strahlung ty.svg Undefined * * ' '
Curvy Roads hazard = curve way/node Curvy Roads are more difficult to drive Belgian road sign A1d.svg Undefined * * ' '
Chasm hazard = chasm node/area Chasms represent fall hazard. Specially in winter conditions when they are obscured by snow. D-W015 Warnung vor Absturzgefahr ty.svg Undefined * * ' '
Minefield hazard = minefield node/area Dangerous minefields of military conflicts in the past with active mines and places of recent found landmines. D-W002 Warnung vor explosionsgefaehrlichen Stoffen ty.svg Undefined * * ' '
Ammunition hazard = ammunition node/area Former military area where old ammunition may still be found. D-W002 Warnung vor explosionsgefaehrlichen Stoffen ty.svg Undefined * * ' '
Wind hazard = side_winds node/way/area For places with dangerous crosswinds (like bridges) France road sign A24.svg Undefined * * ' '
Dangerous animals hazard = dangerous_animals node/way/area For places with dangerous animals (like crocodiles or box jellyfish) * Undefined * * ' '
Contamination hazard = contamination node/area Chemical dump that may still be toxic. ISO 7010 W016.svg Undefined * * ' '

-- Espen 18. August 2007


(discuss proposed key here )


Don't miss Talk:Proposed_features/hazard ;-) and please match against this list 1 A Warning signs (which may match against yours later). Tell me if you need some missing signs there and I'll try to prioritize the filling.--Papou (talk) 02:17, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

school_crossing or school vs playing_children vs children

I suggest to join school_crossing and playing_children into one children as the nature of hazard is the same. --Vovanium 08:23, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Not sure about that, because
  • school_crossing is almost what could be used to tag one kind of Proposed_features/trafficzone that the Belgian code calls Abords d'école, in English and in order of preference school_zone, school_neighbourhood (abord) or simply school. It is a wider scope that just a crossing, but please note that if you add that tag to highway=crossing, then you have your school_crossing back.
  • playing_children on the other hand corresponds to another kind of Proposed_features/trafficzone that the Belgian code calls rue réservée aux jeux, in English dedicated to play (at times), indicated by a timed C3 sign with a mention that is exactly playing_children

--Papou (talk) 02:17, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Related with this, the proposal talks about hazard=playing_children but what we actually have in use is very different from this:
hazard=playing_children hazard=children

It seems that something needs to be better discussed and/or explained? --naoliv (talk) 19:53, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

Why are children a hazard? What harm do they do? --Polarbear w (talk) 23:27, 7 February 2018 (UTC)

Children are unpredictable and can get in front of the car out of nowhere (with a risk of being hit); the driver needs to aware of this and act quickly if needed. It's this road sign Brasil A-34.svg in Brazil and it seems to be this one Zeichen 136-10 - Kinder, Aufstellung rechts, StVO 1992.svg in Germany. --naoliv (talk) 19:25, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

dangerous junctions / unspecified dangers

IMHO dangerous_junction does not need any further work as there is already a road sign explaining this: hazard=dangerous_junction should be set on junction nodes where this sign is placed. --Bot47 17:47, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Isn't that sign called just "junction with priority to the right" and not "dangerous junction"? Here it's literally "equal [priority] junction". At least here it's just used in places where motorists on the other road don't reasonably expect the crossing road not to have yield signs - not that the intersection would in itself be dangerous. Some intersections have, or did have, a separate sign "other danger" (Zeichen 101.svg the exclamation mark in a triangle) with a textual sign below stating "dangerous intersection" - but most if not all of such intersections have been improved and the signs removed. Which doesn't mean they couldn't be tagged, but not as "dangerous". Alv 10:08, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Maybe it should also be possible to tag dangers without warning signs. Such as "known dangerous intersection" (e.g. according to accident statistics); Hole in the middle of the road (assuming it is unlikely to be fixed anytime soon); etc. There was an abandoned proposal to use the hazard tag for those too. Jbohmdk 11:07, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

I have sometimes seen that sign A51 without additional text. We cannot foresee all texts. Isn't a hazard=unspecified useful (watch_out ? ;-))

In Belgium, they play a game consisting of removing the signs that corresponded to natural priority, making it unnatural and dangerous, in order, they say, to calm traffic and increase security (?) --Papou (talk) 22:30, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Animal crossing

I like the general idea. Can the "moose" value be abstracted to "animal_crossing", or is there a good reason to know that a moose might cross as opposed to a deer? The dangerous junction hazard may need more work, for example some junctions are dangerous for cyclists but not motorists (then again maybe everybody should take care at those junctions!) TomChance 17:56, 18 August 2007 (BST)

The whole Belgium agrees and they call it "wild animals crossing" (but in 4 other languages). "wild" is probably a welcome precision --Papou (talk) 02:17, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
An abstracted "animal_crossing" could work just fine. I got an request to add deer (and polar bear), but the general idea is just to tag stretch of road where animals are known to cross. The dangerous junction hazard is not important to me, I was added just to start a brainstorm of appropriate traffic-signs to include --Espen 13:09, 20 August 2007 (BST)
How about using hazard=animal_crossing and if you want it more specific also add animal_crossing=bear,kangaroo,deer ... the more detail, the better :) S.A.L. 14:04, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I also prefer a general "animal crossing". Else we would have to introduce MANY different types: elephants, moose, hare, frogs, ... Thomas P 18:53, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I think that one at least needs to distinguish between "large heavy animals" (moose/elk/kangaroo/elephants will often destroy car and/or kill motorist if hit), "small animals" (foxes/hares/frogs/dogs/chicken may slightly damage car, but only kill driver if swerving too much) and "dangerous animals" (polar bears/lions/alligators may actively attack humans causing serious harm). Jbohmdk 11:07, 20 July 2013 (UTC)


I need this kind of sign for I have at least one road of this kind here: de:"261: Verbot für kennzeichnungspflichtige Kraftfahrzeuge mit gefährlichen Gütern" ( Souroce: Wikipedia:de Traffic Signs ) Thomas P 18:52, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

There is a hazmat=* for it, as it is not hazard itself but restriction on vehicles carrying hazardous materials. --Vovanium 08:23, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

I suggest to add contamination as a generic tag for any chemical, radioactive or biological dangerous area (found 2 today) --SunCobalt 08:23, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Besides road hazards, other hazards exist as well, such as hazards to cyclists, hikers, beach-goers, swimmers, scuba divers, etc. For example, a sign at the Pot Alley Gorge beach (Kalbarri, Western Australia) warns visitors that conditions on this beach can be treacherous and that "people have died here". Similarly, a sign at the start of The Loop Trail in Kalbarri National Park warns that "hikers have died on this trail", not to "walk the trail in hot weather", to carry at least 4 L of water per person per day, to "wear a hat and sturdy footwear", to walk the trail in company only, and to "be prepared and know your limits". -- sb 5:07, 5 Oct 2013 (UTC)

Maybe it's a good idea to also consider risk of falling, which would probably apply to most of the Bolivian road of death.--Fernando Trebien (talk) 14:45, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Falling should be included, not just in Bolivia but in many other countries with mountain areas, there is a significant amount of roads with just 1 lane wide unpaved and in the edges of cliff and landslides prone areas, so falling is a must - User:JJIglesias 2018-09-24

I wanted to chime in here. I am looking at using OSM data for creating maps tailored for travellers in remote areas (I'm interested in australia, but it could apply to other remote areas too).

I think that a hazard warning of some kind is a very good idea, but I think it should be far more general than just cycling / driving hazards.

Just a few potentially life-threatening hazards I can think of:

  1. crocodiles. it would be great to be able to tag a river / waterhole with 'crocodiles! no camping/swimming!'
  2. in northern australia there are box jellyfish. I would like to tag large coastal areas with 'box jellyfish oct-feb! no swimming!'
  3. in places like chernobyl, bikini atoll, trinity test site: 'warning: radiation'
  4. various places in the world: 'warning: land mines!'
  5. toxic water (e.g algae infestations, arsenic-filled ponds in abandoned mines) should be marked 'no swimming / drinking'

This information can save lives.

See also