How often do you travel (drive, walk or bike) down the street and take notice of the number of the traffic signs you pass along the way to your destination? Traffic signs are everywhere! They are put in place to direct and regulate the way we operate our vehicles to get safely from point A to point B. Think of all of the signs you pass on a daily basis: Stop signs, Speed Limit signs, Yield signs, Pedestrian Crossing, Construction Ahead and that’s just to name a few. There are hundreds of traffic signs put along the roadways to help maintain your safety and the flow of traffic.
Most traffic signs use symbols in conjunction with words because symbols provide an instant communication and overcome language barriers. Road signs can be broken down into different categories based on their color, shape, and symbols.
Types of Traffic Signs:
Regulatory Signs– Regulatory signs represent the traffic laws and regulations of the road. If you disregard their message, you can get a ticket. These signs are typically rectangular in shape with a white background and black lettering, with the exception of Stop and Yield signs.
Warning Signs – These signs draw attention to a road condition that could be potentially hazardous. They are present when the approaching a threat that may not be seen by the motorist. Warning signs are usually a yellow diamond shape with a black warning symbol.
Guide Signs – Guide signs do exactly as their name suggests: they point you towards your route destination. They typically have a green rectangular shape with white lettering. These are the most commons signs you see along a highway. Blue service signs can also be classified as a Guide Sign.
Traffic Control Signs – These are the temporary construction signs placed adjacent to the road to help regulate, warn, or guide traffic. Traffic control signs have a fluorescent orange background with black lettering and can be either a diamond or rectangular shape.
Emergency & Incident Management Signs – These fluorescent pink directional signs are used to guide and control highway traffic during an emergency, such as a traffic accident, hurricane, flood or unexpected disaster. They are colored pink to indicate the severity of the current or upcoming conditions.
It is important for every road user to familiarize themselves with these traffic symbols and signs and understand what they are indicating. For the complete list of U.S. road signs, please check out http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/.