A Guide To Understanding The Different Road Sign Types And Their Meaning

Road signs play a vital role in keeping drivers safe. Understanding what a particular sign means can save you from getting a traffic violation. Moreover, knowing what the different shapes, colors, and symbols mean can help you to ace your driving test.

Most road signs fall under three categories: warning, regulatory, and guide. Here is a look at the different types of each:

Speed Limit Signs

The black and white road signs Washington specify a permitted top speed for moving vehicles. A fine may apply if you exceed the permitted speed.

Regulatory speed limits assume ideal conditions, so you should slow down when driving in bad weather or heavy traffic. Some states permit drivers to exceed the posted speed limit for safety reasons based on road conditions.

Service signs are square or rectangular and blue or brown with white markings. They may be marked with a map, show routes to cities and national parks, or direct you to hospitals, rest areas, and gas stations. They are an excellent resource for those traveling in new territory. You will also see them near work zones. You must slow down in these areas and watch for workers who are directing traffic.

No Left Turn Signs

Although the colors and shapes of road traffic signs can vary worldwide, certain types typically have similar designs and meanings. These unique signs are meant to keep motorists safe and make the roads a little more fun to drive on.

No Left Turn Signs are commonly used in busy intersections with only one lane for each direction of traffic. When cars wait to turn left in this area, it can back up traffic and cause problems for drivers in the other lane.

These types of road traffic signs are also helpful in emergencies, as they can be easily seen by 9-1-1 dispatchers and help them determine your location on the roadway. Recognizing these popular road traffic signs is essential to being a safe driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian.

No Right Turn Signs

You cannot turn right at that intersection if you see a No Right Turn sign. It prevents you from hitting another car or causing an accident with pedestrians. You must either travel straight through the intersection or turn left.

Brown: This type of road sign indicates areas for recreation and cultural points of interest, such as national parks, museums, and city parks. These are often seen on the side of the highway and are usually shaped like squares with brown lettering.

Chevron signs warn you that the road is about to curve in the direction indicated by the chevron. You should slow down and stay in the center lane of the road.

Stop Signs

The stop sign is a traffic sign that is widely recognized. It’s a yellow octagon with black lettering and is found everywhere, from residential streets to busy city intersections. Its purpose is to alert drivers that they must slow down and prepare to stop at a crosswalk, intersection, or driveway.

CENTER LANE LEFT TURN ONLY: These signs tell you that the center lane is for left-turning vehicles only and should not be used through traffic or passing. Be sure to check for a limit line, a white stripe extending from the stop sign’s base. If there is, it indicates that you should stop about one car length before the limit line.

Adhering to Washington’s special right-of-way rules is essential for safe driving on our roads. Watch this video from Rick with Smart Drive Test as he discusses the rules of four-way stops and other essential tips.

Signs Showing the Original Highway

It is hard to imagine a time before there were traffic signs. They are necessary to keep travelers safe and on the path to their destinations.

It took years for the sign design to evolve from mile markers and road names to today’s standard sign designs. But their need is excellent and continuously growing as civilizations develop faster.

In 1954, the American Association of State Highway Officials standardized upper-case in-block lettering for guide and regulatory signs. It established that warning signs should be white text on a red background. This significant change complemented the new guidelines for civil defense and construction signing. The rewritten MUTCD also introduced yellow markings to distinguish traffic signals and construction sites.

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