Traffic Signs and Meanings In USA 2023

February 20, 2023

Symbols are used on roads since drivers process information faster than words. Have you ever thought about why the signs vary in color and shape?

Different colors and signs are used to ensure proper traffic flow, and the best part is some are universal and standard, and you won’t have trouble visiting other countries.

You will learn most signs in your theory class, but you may only keep some of them in your mind. Keep reading as we check the traffic signs and meanings for safe driving.

But first, let’s look at:

Traffic Signs and Meanings: The Four Major Categories

Road signs will be part of your permit test; learning them is essential for passing and staying safe. Let’s check the significant categories of road signs.

Regulatory Signs: They enforce road rules, and you will find them on most roads. The standard regulatory signs include a stop that uses white and red. You must stop at the line across the street.

Yield is also in this category and alerts you on upcoming hazards or road conditions, and you should stop when necessary and safe. The yellow flashing sign at intersections serves the same purpose.

Warning Signs: They alert you to proceed with caution. For example, when approaching road work.

Guide Signs: They give information about a location and vary in color depending on their message.

Rail Crossing Signs: They warn drivers about approaching railway tracks.

Road Sign Colors and Their Meanings

traffic signs


The road signs use different colors and have meaning behind them. You can tell the sign’s message through color, and your examiner can ask questions about them. Here are some common symbols and their meanings.

1. Green

These are direction signs; you will find them as exit signs, street markers, distance signs to a specific location, or city and mile markers. It also indicates that movements are permitted in the area or the distance ahead.

2. Red

US road signs and meanings


It means you must stop or yield, and you will notice prohibition signs using the color, such as no turn, no u-turn, and no parking. Remember that if you come across the stop sign, you should make a complete stop, and a rolling one may earn you some deductions in the scoring sheet.

3. Yellow

Warning signs use yellow and alert you of adverse conditions and hazards ahead. It also shows there are changing road conditions on your way. For example, you can see a yellow sign warning you about a rail crossing, a merge point, a narrow bridge ahead, no passing zone, and uneven surface, among other potential hazards. It would help if you prepared to stop or slow down in such an event.

4. Orange

They represent temporary signs related to traffic control, road work, and other maintenance warnings. Once you see an orange sign watch out for workers on your roadway.

5. Purple

It shows that the lanes are restricted for vehicles registered with electronic toll collections.

6. Fluorescent Green

It’s a relatively new color in our roadways and relates to pedestrians, cyclists, and school warnings. Some construction sites also use color since it’s easier to recognize when driving in adverse weather, such as rain and fog.

7. Blue

traffic signs


These are non-regulatory signs that display travelers’ services. You will mostly find them on expressways and highways, directing you where to find hospitals, hotels, rest areas, gas stations, campgrounds, and hotels.

8. Brown

They mark recreational facilities, historical sites, and other attractions. The signs will give a direction to the area.


The coral-colored signs are temporary and found around incident sites such as flooded roads, hazardous spills, car accidents, and hazardous spills and fallen trees.

9. Black and White

They mean regulation.

Road Sign Shapes

Besides the color, you can tell a road sign’s meaning through the shape. Let’s check the standard shapes for road signs.

1. Octagon

The shape is always a stop sign. If it’s at an intersection, make a complete stop at the marked stop line or before your vehicle gets to the intersection. If it’s near the crosswalk, ensure the pedestrians pass before continuing your trip.

2. Diamond

dmv road signs and meanings


They are used as warning signs to alert you of special road hazards where. Some have words and others signs to ensure you slow down for safety.

3. Pennant

It’s usually on the left side of the highway or road to warn you about a no-passing zone.

4. Equilateral Triangle

It’s for yield signs to ensure you yield the right of way, let vehicles cross your path, or slow down. Sometimes, you should stop before proceeding, especially in a crosswalk where pedestrians are about to enter.

5. Pentagon

A pentagon-shaped road sign means there’s a school zone or crossing.

6. Rectangle

road signs and meanings


The shape is used in guide and regulatory signs, and the vertical ones tell you what to do and avoid, like observing speed limits. The horizontal ones are used in giving directions on services that drivers may require.

7. Crossbuck

road signs list


It shows railroads are crossing, and some have a number on them to indicate the sets of tracks intersecting.

8. Circle

It indicates there’s a railroad crossing ahead.

What Are the Typical Black and White Road Signs?

Traffic signs and meanings


Speed Limit: The signs post the maximum speed on the roadway, and breaking it will earn you a speeding ticket since there are no error margins to speed limits, and you must stick to the given one.

Do Not Pass: You shouldn’t pass the driver in front of you, especially on two-lane roads, to keep drivers from using the oncoming lane for passing. You can also see the sign in the multi-ways where roads are about to merge.

One Way: Indicates a one-way road with an arrow showing traffic flow. It helps new drivers and visitors recognize the road.

No Turns: the signs are common at intersections to indicate that you aren’t allowed to make any turn. You may notice them in construction zones and temporarily closed roads.

Final Thoughts

In your theory driving classes, you must have learned common road signs for a safe ride on New York roads. It would help to remember the signs in your driving test since the examiner can ask you a question about them.

At Pierre Paul driving school, we teach you about traffic signs and meanings for safe maneuvers. Hurry and book a lesson for the best experience.