Although traffic signs can come in different varieties, warning signs are some of the most important. Without these signs in place, drivers may not be aware of different hazards, which could lead to more collisions and incidents.
However, warning signs are unique compared to most other traffic signs, so it’s imperative to understand what they are and how they work. So, here’s everything you need to know about them.
What are Traffic Warning Signs?
A traffic warning sign is designed to notify drivers of upcoming hazards or dangerous conditions they may not be aware of. The purpose of the sign is to get the driver to pay closer attention to the road ahead so they can react accordingly. Depending on the hazard, these signs have different images and graphics.
Warning Signs vs. Other Traffic Signs
Traffic warning signs are unique compared to most other road signs because they can vary significantly from one area to the next. For example, one sign could warn drivers about an upcoming curve, while another one may notify individuals of an animal crossing.
To get drivers’ attention, warning signs are usually yellow with a diamond shape. The graphics and lettering are black to create an intense contrast that helps individuals understand the sign’s message.
It’s also imperative that warning signs do not conflict with other signage, such as regulatory or informative signs. So, in some areas, it may be necessary to put up multiple types of signs to ensure that all drivers pay close attention to the road.
Finally, warning signs do not tell drivers how to respond to a specific hazard. Instead, it’s designed to get them to pay attention to the road so that they can adapt to any changes. When it comes to road regulations, drivers still need to follow the rules according to their state and county.
7 Most Common Warning Signs for Drivers
Since warning signs can vary so greatly, it’s helpful to see and understand some of the most common signs on the road. Here are seven options that drivers will likely see at some point during their driving career.
School zones are specialized areas surrounding a school. Drivers must pay extra attention to what is going on so they can watch for children and pedestrians. Also, school buses are active in these zones during school hours, so drivers must be aware of their presence so they can react accordingly.
Typically, a school zone warning sign will accompany a pedestrian crossing or speed limit sign. This way, drivers can slow down if necessary and be aware of where students, parents, and teachers may be crossing the road. These signs are fluorescent yellow and usually have a pentagon shape.
In rural areas, there are certain places where animals like deer may cross from time to time. Sometimes, this warning sign may indicate which animal a driver should watch out for. In other instances, the sign may just say “Animal Crossing” so drivers know to look for any animal that may be looking to cross the road.
This sign is unique compared to other warning signs because animals are not always present or near the sign. Different factors like the season and weather may affect whether animals decide to cross the road at that point. Overall, drivers are meant to be more mindful of their surroundings, just in case.
Curves and bends in the road are hazardous because it’s harder to see what’s in front of the vehicle. Also, sharp curves can be dangerous for larger vehicles as they may tip over if they enter the turn too fast.
There are many different types of curve warning signs, including:
- Curve With a Cross Road
- Curve With a Side Road
- Hairpin Curve
These signs will indicate the direction of the curve so drivers can slow down and get ready. Some of these signs may also indicate multiple curves with an S-shaped symbol and an arrow pointing in the direction of traffic.
In some cases, it may also be necessary to place road mirrors near these signs so drivers can see oncoming traffic before making the turn. This way, they can avoid a head-on collision, particularly in situations with limited visibility.
Merging with traffic can always be tricky because the driver merging into the lane has to try and match the speed of the traffic in the lane. Also, there may be areas where cars are merging outside of a freeway or highway on and off-ramp. So, this kind of warning sign is necessary to tell drivers to anticipate cars coming into the right lane.
Sometimes, this sign may also have a distance marker on it so drivers know how long the merging lane lasts. This way, they can anticipate when a car must merge to stay on the road.
Traffic Signal Ahead
Usually, traffic signals are easy to spot, but not always. For example, if a driver is coming around a bend, they may not see the signal until they’re almost on top of it. So, this kind of warning sign is necessary to notify the driver of an upcoming signal so they can slow down. In some cases, this sign may also be accompanied by a signal light, so the driver knows whether to expect a red, yellow, or green light at the intersection.
As with traffic signals, stop signs may not always be visible in time for a driver to slow down. This warning indicator is critical because drivers must come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Otherwise, drivers may approach the intersection at a dangerous speed, creating unsafe road conditions and potential collisions.
No Passing Zone
As a rule, vehicles can pass each other when there is a broken line between lanes. Solid lines are never meant to be crossed, but some drivers may do so anyway.
A No Passing Zone sign is necessary for areas where passing of any kind would be unsafe. For example, if drivers are on a one-lane road, passing could force someone to move to the shoulder. Also, in some areas, drivers may be unable to see oncoming traffic until it’s too late.
Usually, this sign will be accompanied by a distance marker as needed (i.e., Next 1/2 Mile). This way, drivers know how long they are prohibited from passing.
Get Traffic Warning Signs from WorkSafe Traffic Control Industries
WorkSafe Traffic Control Industries is proud to create and deliver traffic warning signs for all kinds of conditions and situations. We make sure to abide by MUTCD regulations, and our work is guaranteed to last as long as possible. Order your warning signs today and take advantage of our seven-day turnaround time.