10 Most Common Road Hazard Signs & Their Meanings

Road Hazard Signs

When you are driving, you cannot always anticipate what is ahead. A road hazard sign will alert drivers about conditions that may present a danger. Road signs not only tell drivers how to get where they are going, but they help avoid trouble on the road as well.

The top ten most common road hazard and traffic signs are

  1. Yield: A yield sign is an inverted triangle most commonly with a white background and black lettering. While a stop sign brings traffic to a halt, a yield sign keeps the traffic flowing when the situation is less dangerous. A yield sign is used to slow drivers down and remind them to be aware of and yield to oncoming traffic.
  2. Stop: A stop sign is one of the first road placards most children know when they learn to cross a street. The octagon shape and the red background with white letters are universally understood. Because of its importance, a stop sign is the only octagon shape road sign.
  3. Speed Limit: Speed limit placards tell you how fast to drive. While most highways have a speed limit of 55-70 miles an hour, most residential areas are posted at 25 miles per hour. The rectangular white placards with black printing signs are reminders to drive at the safe speed that you memorized for your driving test.
  4. Emergency Vehicle Warning: Although not as common as other warning signs, emergency vehicle placards are some of the most important. These signs warn a driver that a firehouse, ambulance station, or other emergency vehicle centers nearby. This diamond-shaped yellow sign lets drivers know to be alert to emergency vehicles entering the road.
  5. Keep Right (or Left): When there is an obstruction in the road or the street narrows for some reason, these white signs with black lettering keep the traffic flowing in the right direction.
  6. Pedestrian Crossing: One of the most common signs, usually seen in school zones or densely populated urban areas. Anywhere they may be many people walking and crossing the street, this reflective fluorescent yellow or yellow-green sign with stick figures reminds a driver to watch out.
  7. No Bicycles: Bike riders should follow the same rules that automobiles do and sometimes bikes want to go where they should not be. This white sign with black lettering features a bright red circle and diagonal slash to indicate this area of the street or facility does not allow bike traffic.
  8. Men at Work: When you see this orange diamond-shaped sign, you know to drive cautiously. Work zones should always be approached with caution both for the drivers and the workers. Sometimes they indicate a traffic pattern change where the driver needs to pull over or slow down. One sign is usually accompanied by other temporary placards such as “work ahead” and “detour”.
  9. No U-Turn: If you missed your turn, your GPS would tell you to make a U-turn. However, there are some places where this white sign with a U-shaped arrow and a red slash will tell you this is not allowed. You will usually see these signs on two-way roads or on highways letting drivers know they cannot change direction at this point in the road.
  10. Animal Crossing: Most are posted as deer crossings, although you may see other animals such as geese, bears, even turtles crossing the street. Larger animals especially can cause significant damage to a car, possibly even causing them to crash. These yellow diamond signs let the driver know there are animals in the area that may try to cross the road.

Now that you know what the top 10 road hazard signs are, let us look at their shapes and colors and the meanings behind them.

What are Road Hazard Signs?

When you are driving, you need to keep your eyes on the street. To make sure you get the information you need quickly and safely, there are standard shapes and colors used in the U.S. and developed by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, or MUTCD.

According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), there are eight types of road placards.

While not all these situations present an immediate danger, any unanticipated change in the road or driving pattern could be hazardous if not expected. Each type of sign has a general color and shape. The color and the shape of a sign lets the driver know instantly what type of information to expect

  • Red – Stop, Yield, Prohibited
  • White with black letteringRegulatory signs such as speed limits
  • Yellow – Warning signs indicating traffic pattern changes or animal crossings
  • Green – Traffic patterns guides and directions
  • Fluorescent yellow/green – Pedestrian crossings and school zones
  • Orange – Construction or road work
  • Blue – Services and tourist information as well as evacuation routes
  • Brown – Recreation and cultural sites

The shape of the sign is also used to get a message across quickly. We are all familiar with the octagon shape of a stop sign. Some other common shapes used to relay information about the road are:

  • Inverted triangle – Yield
  • Rectangle or square – Traffic regulations
  • Diamond – Warning
  • Horizontal rectangles– Guidance
  • Pentagon -School zones
  • Circle – Railroad crossing

What Are Road Hazard Signs

How Do Road Hazard Signs Help Regulate Traffic?

A road hazard sign does not always indicate immediate danger but rather a change in driving patterns such as reducing speed due to a busy area, a school crossing, or a construction area. Whether it is a>warning of potential danger or just a reminder to pay attention, a traffic sign lets you get the information you need to drive safely while keeping your eyes on the road.

Where Can I Buy Road Hazard Signs?

If you are interested in buying street hazard placards for repeated use, Worksafe Traffic Control Industries, Inc. can help. View our warning signs to see our large selection of placards and to request a consultation.

Where Can I Rent Road Traffic Signs?

Sometimes you just need signs temporarily. You do not need them frequently and storing them is not feasible. In this case, a traffic sign rental may be a good decision for you.

Worksafe Traffic Control Industries, Inc. can arrange rentals to fit whatever you need. Give us a call or view our signs available to rent to request more information.

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