Signals, Signs and Pavement Markings
Traffic Control Signals
signals are placed at intersections to keep traffic moving and avoid
accidents. Drivers, pedestrians, and bicycle riders must obey these
signals except when an officer is directing traffic. Stop on the
stop line if your car is nearest the signal. Some signals change
only when a car is at the stop line. If traffic signals are out
of order, stop as you would for a four-way stop sign.
Come to a complete stop at the marked
stop line or before moving into the crosswalk or intersection. After
stopping, you may turn right on red at most intersections if the
way is clear. Some intersections display a "NO TURN ON RED"
sign, which you must obey. Left turns on red from a one-way street
into a one-way street are also allowed.
Stop if you can. The light will soon be red.
Go - but only if the intersection is
clear. Yield to pedestrians and vehicles still in the intersection.
If turning left, wait for gap in oncoming traffic to complete turn.
Come to a complete stop at the marked
stop line or before moving into the crosswalk or intersection. After
stopping, you may turn right on red arrow at most intersections
if the way is clear. Some intersections display a "NO TURN ON RED"
sign, which you must obey. Left turns on red arrow from a one-way
street into a one-way street are also allowed.
Stop if you can. The light will soon
be red. The yellow arrow means the same as the yellow light, but
applies only to movement in the direction of the arrow.
A green arrow, pointing right or left,
means you may make a turn in the direction of the arrow, if you
are in the proper lane for such a turn, after yielding the right-of-way
to vehicles and pedestrians within the intersection, even if the
red light is burning at the same time.
A flashing red light means the same
thing as a stop sign. It is used at dangerous intersections.
A flashing yellow light means you may move forward with caution.
It is used at or just before dangerous intersections, or to alert
you to a warning sign such as a school crossing or sharp curve.
Lane signals are used:
- When the direction of the flow of traffic changes
during the day, or
- To show that a toll booth is open or closed.
- To show which lanes are opened or closed.
You must never drive in a lane under
a red X.
A yellow X means that your lane signal
is going to change to red. Prepare to leave the lane safely.
You may drive in lanes beneath the green
arrow, but you must also obey all other signs and signals.
Traffic signs - Standard
Shapes and Colors
There are eight shapes and eight colors
of traffic signs. Each shape and each color has an exact meaning,
so you must acquaint yourself with all of them.
The shape of a road sign can tell you
as much about the sign's message as its color.
OCTAGON: Exclusively for stop signs.
HORIZONTAL RECTANGLE: Generally for guide signs.
TRIANGLE: Exclusively for yield signs.
PENNANT: Advance warning of no passing zones.
DIAMOND: Exclusively to warn of existing or possible hazards
on roadways or adjacent areas.
VERTICAL RECTANGLE: Generally for regulatory signs.
PENTAGON: School advance and school crossing signs.
ROUND: railroad advance warning signs.
CROSSBUCK: Railroad crossing.
STOP SIGNS are always octagonal
(8 sided). A stop sign means that you must bring your vehicle to
a complete halt at the marked stop line.
If there is no marked stop line, stop
before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.
If there is no crosswalk, stop at a point nearest the intersecting
roadway where you have a clear view of approaching traffic on the
intersecting roadway before entering the intersection.
A four-way stop sign means that there
are four stop signs at this intersection. Traffic from all four
directions must stop. The first vehicle to reach the intersection
should move forward first. If two vehicles reach the intersection
at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on
Slow down and give vehicles crossing your path
the right-of-way. If the way is clear, you may move forward slowly
without stopping. Yield signs are usually placed where auxiliary
roads lead into major roads.
Pennant: No Passing
You are entering a no passing zone. This sign is
placed on the left side of the road, facing the driver.
Narrow bridge. These signs warn you of special
conditions or dangers ahead. Words or symbols on the sign will show
why you need to use caution.
Pentagon: School Sign:
This five-sided sign means you are near a school.
Watch for children.
As you approach this sign, slow down, watch for
children crossing the road. Stop if necessary. Obey signals from
any crossing guards.
Here are some common warning signs. These signs
give you advance notice of possible hazards ahead. Drive with caution.
1. SLIPPERY WHEN WET. In wet weather, drive slowly. Do not speed
up or brake quickly. Make sharp turns at a very slow speed.
2. DIVIDED HIGHWAY AHEAD. The highway ahead is divided into two
one-way roadways. Keep to the right.
3. DIVIDED HIGHWAY ENDS. The divided highway on which you are traveling
ends 350 to 500 feet ahead. You will then be on a roadway with two-way
traffic. Keep to the right.
4. LOW CLEARANCE. Do not enter if your vehicle is taller than the
height listed on the sign.
5. BICYCLE CROSSING. Warns you in advance that a bikeway crosses
the roadway ahead.
6. MERGING TRAFFIC. You are coming to a point where another traffic
lane joins the one you are on. Watch for other traffic and be ready
to yield the right-of-way when necessary.
7. PEDESTRIAN CROSSING. Watch for people crossing the street. Slow
down or stop if necessary.
8. NARROW BRIDGE. The bridge is wide enough to accommodate two lanes
of traffic, but with very little clearance.
9. DIP. There is a low place in the road. Go slowly and be ready
to stop if the dip is filled with water.
10. SOFT SHOULDER. The dirt on the side of the road is soft. Don't
leave the pavement except in an emergency.
11. ONE LANE BRIDGE. The bridge is wide enough for only one vehicle
at a time. Make sure the bridge is clear of oncoming traffic before
12. PAVEMENT ENDS. Road surface ahead changes from a hard surfaced
pavement to a low-type surface or earth road.
13. RIGHT CURVE. Slow your speed and keep well to the left. The
road will curve to the right.
14. DOUBLE CURVE. The road will curve to the right, then to the
left. Slow your speed, keep to the right, and do not pass.
15. WINDING ROAD. There are several curves ahead. Drive slowly and
16. TRUCK CROSSING. Watch for trucks entering or crossing the highway.
17. CROSS ROAD. A road crosses the main highway ahead. Look to the
left and right for other traffic.
18. SIDE ROAD. Another road enters the highway from the direction
shown. Watch for traffic from that direction.
19. SHARP RIGHT TURN. The road will make a sharp turn to the right.
Slow your speed, keep to the right, and do not pass other vehicles.
20. REDUCTION OF LANES. There will be fewer lanes ahead. Traffic
must merge left. Drivers in the left lane should allow others to
merge smoothly. Right lane ends.
21. ADVISORY SPEED SIGN. The highest safe speed you should travel
around the curve ahead is 25 miles per hour. Advisory speed signs
may be used with any diamond-shaped warning sign.
22. HILL/DOWNGRADE. Slow down and be ready to shift to lower gear
to control speed and save brakes.
23. YIELD AHEAD. Warning of yield sign ahead. Slow down and be prepared
to stop at yield sign or adjust speed to traffic.
24. TRAFFIC SIGNAL AHEAD. Warning of traffic signals at intersection
ahead. Slow down, poor visibility is likely.
25. STOP SIGN AHEAD. When you come to this sign, slow down to be
ready to stop at the stop sign check.
26. TWO-WAY TRAFFIC AHEAD. The one-way street or roadway ahead ends.
You will then be facing oncoming traffic.
Rectangle: Regulatory or Information
These signs tell you the law, so you must follow
Remember that a red circle
with a slash means NO. The sign shows you what is not allowed.
NO U-TURN. - You cannot make
a complete turn to go in the opposite direction where this sign
is displayed. No U-turn.
You must not make a right turn
at this intersection.
50 miles per hour is the highest safest speed you can travel
in this area.
You cannot go straight ahead. You must turn either to the
right or left.
You are going the wrong way on an expressway
exit ramp. Do not drive past this sign. Turn around immediately.
A divided highway is ahead.
Stay on the right side of the divider.
Parking only for vehicles displaying
an official permit and transporting a disabled person.
You may travel only in the
direction of the arrow.
This sign lists the maximum recommended
safe speed for an entrance or exit on an expressway. Slow down to
whatever speed is shown.
You may not turn right or left during
the red light. You must wait for the signal to turn green.
A diamond-shaped marking shows that
a lane is reserved for certain purposes or certain vehicles. The
lanes are usually reserved for buses or car-pool vehicles during
rush hour traffic. Other diamond signs are used to designate bicycle
The center lane is shared for
left turns in both directions of travel.
You must not pass any other vehicles
going in the same direction as you are, while you are in this area.
When you have passed this sign, you
are again permitted to pass other vehicles with care.
Traffic in left lane must turn left
at the intersection ahead.
Stopping permitted only for emergencies.
You are approaching an area where a
reduced speed zone has been established.
At the intersection ahead traffic
in left lane must turn left and traffic in adjoining lane may turn
left or continue straight ahead.
This sign is used on multiple lane highways
to advise slower driving traffic to stay in the right hand lane;
and also to do so when approached from behind by other traffic even
if you are doing the speed limit.
This marks a one-way roadway
with traffic coming toward you. You must not enter the one-way roadway
at this point.
You must not turn either to the right
or to the left at this intersection.
If you park, you must always park off
the pavement of the highway.
When entering a right turn lane motorists
will conflict with bicycle through movements. Always yield.
ANIMAL CROSSING. The animal pictured
on the sign is common in this area: watch for this species crossing
the road particularly during twilight and nighttime hours.
Railroad Crossing Signs
There are several signs, signals and
pavement markings that indicate highway- railroad crossings. When
you see one of them, slow down and be ready to stop.
Trains cannot stop quickly. An average
freight train traveling at 30 MPH needs a stopping distance of more
than half a mile. Longer trains moving at faster speeds can take
one and a half miles or more to stop.
Any person walking or driving a vehicle
and approaching a railroad- highway grade crossing must stop within
50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of the the
railroad when the electrical or mechanical warning devices are flashing;
or the crossing gate is lowered or human flagger is warning of an
approaching train; or there is an approaching train clearly visible
and is in hazardous proximity to the railroad-highway grade crossing,
and must not proceed until he or she can do so safely.
Pavement markings, consisting of an
RXR followed by a stop line closer to the tracks, may be painted
on the paved approach to a crossing. Any person walking or driving
a vehicle must stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet of
the crossing. Stay behind the stop line while waiting for a train
The advance warning sign is usually
the first sign you see when approaching a highway-rail intersection.
The advance warning sign advises you to slow down, look, listen
for a train, and be prepared to stop if a train is approaching.
Crossbuck signs are found at highway-rail
intersections. They are yield signs. You are legally required to
yield the right of way to trains. Slow down, look and listen for
a train, and stop if a train approaches. When the road crosses over
more than one set of tracks, a sign below the crossbuck will indicate
the number of tracks.
At many highway-rail crossings, the
crossbuck has flashing red lights and bells. When the lights begin
to flash, stop! A train is approaching. DO NOT STOP ON THE TRACKS
OR WITHIN SIX FEET OF EITHER RAIL. Do not move forward until
you can do so safely. If there is more than one track, make sure
all tracks are clear before crossing. In heavy traffic make sure
there is room for your vehicle on the other side before starting
Many crossings have gates with flashing
red lights and bells. Stop when the lights begin to flash, and before
the gate lowers across your side of the road. Do not move forward
until the gates are raised and the lights stop flashing as there
may be a train approaching on an adjacent track.
Always approach highway-railroad crossings
at a reasonable speed - and be prepared to stop if you have to.
Be especially alert when you are following buses or trucks which
may have to stop at highway-railroad crossings even if any gates
are up and the warning lights are not flashing.
If your car stalls on the tracks
don't hesitate. Get yourself and your passengers out and away from
the car immediately. If a collision is imminent, the safest direction
is toward the train but stay off the tracks. That way you will be
least likely to be hit by your vehicle or any debris from the collision.
Construction and Maintenance
Traffic Control Signs
Various traffic control devices are
used in road construction and maintenance work areas to direct drivers
and pedestrians safely through the work site and to provide for
the safety of highway workers.
Be prepared to reduce your speed and
use caution when directed to do so by a sign, flagger and/or police
Construction and maintenance signs are
used to notify drivers of unusual or potentially dangerous conditions
in or near work areas. Most signs used in highway and street work
areas are diamond shaped.
Barricades, vertical panels, drums,
and cones are the most commonly used devices to alert drivers of
unusual or potentially dangerous conditions in highway and street
work zones. These devices are used to guide the drivers safely through
the work area, and at night, they may be equipped with warning lights.
When a Road Closed sign is displayed, do not drive on this road.
Look for a detour or another route.
Stripes on barricades and panel devices slope downward
in the direction traffic must travel.
Flashing Arrow Panels
Flashing arrow panels are used both
during the day and at night to give advance warning and directional
information to drivers where it is necessary to move to the right
or to the left into another lane.
A horizontal flashing bar indicates a warning -
use caution approaching the work area.
Flaggers are often provided in highway
and street work zones to stop, slow, or guide traffic safely through
Flaggers wear orange vests or jackets
and use red flags or stop/slow panels to direct traffic through
SLOW MOVING VEHICLE
Vehicles going less than 25 miles per hour (such as farm equipment)
must display this sign on the rear when using public highways.
GREEN GUIDE SIGNS
Green and white signs give information about directions and distances.
Guide signs on expressways show you which lanes to use to get where
you want to go.
Routes that run generally East-West have even numbers and those
running North-South have odd numbers.
BLUE SERVICE SIGNS
Blue and white signs direct you to services, such as gas, food,
motels and hospitals. Brown and white signs point out scenic areas
Road markings are used to guide and
warn drivers. Markings may be either yellow or white. Each has a
different meaning. Yellow center line markings separate lanes of
traffic moving in opposite directions. White lines separate lanes
of traffic going in the same direction.
Some of the basic rules that must be
- A single solid, broken or dotted line may be
crossed with care. In yellow, it means pass with due care; and
in white, it means to change lanes with due care.
- A double solid line may not be crossed. In yellow,
it means no passing and in white, a double solid line means do
not change lanes. However, a double solid yellow line may be crossed
in making a left turn.
- A dotted line is used to guide vehicles into
particular paths such as through intersections where solid or
broken or skip lines would be confusing.
- A solid line with a dotted line has several
meanings. Passing or crossing is prohibited if the solid line
is on the side where the vehicle is traveling. Exceptions to this
is when the vehicle is turning into a reversed turn lane or into
a two-way left turn lane - where they exist.
Yellow Center Line Markings
A broken yellow line shows that you may pass on the left when the
way ahead is clear. Remember that you are facing oncoming traffic,
so overtaking and passing should be done with care.
Solid & Broken
A solid yellow line to the right of a broken yellow center line
means passing or crossing is prohibited in that lane, except when
Double solid yellow lines show that passing is not allowed in either
direction. You may not cross the lines unless you are making a left
Broken white lines separate lines of traffic going in the same direction.
They may be crossed with care.
Solid with Turn Lane Arrow
Solid white lines are used for turn
lanes and to discourage lane changes near intersections. Arrows
are often used with the white lines to show which turn may be made
from the lane.
If you are in a lane marked with a curved
arrow and the word ONLY, you must turn in the direction of the arrow.
If your lane is marked with both a curved and straight arrow, you
may either turn or go straight.
Double solid white lines indicate that changing
lanes is not allowed.
Some highways have reversible traffic
lanes to help handle rush-hour traffic. The direction of traffic
is normally reversed at set times each day. These pavement markings
are used along with special lane signals and other signs and symbols.
A solid white line marks the edge of
the pavement on most roads. Stop lines, crosswalks and parking spaces
are also marked by white lines. Symbols such as arrows are in white
also. A single yellow line marks the left edge of all divided or
one-way roadways. Curbs are often marked yellow in no-parking zones
near fire hydrants or intersections.
It is unlawful to park in or drive through
areas that have pavement markings indicating fire lanes or safety
The lane marking arrow, in the center
lane in the diagram below, indicates that traffic in this lane can
be reversed in accordance with local traffic controls due to "rush
hour" traffic or other special traffic conditions.
Two-Way Roadway with Center Lane
Two-way roadway with a center lane for
left turns in either direction of travel. The specially marked center
turn lane is intended for slowing down and for sheltering of turning
vehicles and may not be used for passing.
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