Looking for a list of road signs and their meanings?

Road Warning Signs

When you first learned to drive, you probably got a list of road signs and their meanings in your Driver’s Ed class. If you didn’t have a class at school, you could always check the index of road warning signs in your driver handbook issued by the DMV in your state.

Some warning signs re so familiar that it would be very difficult to forget what they are. Other road warning signs and meanings are a lot easier to confuse. After all, you probably don’t see a slow-moving vehicle sign every day.

All road warning signs and meanings are intended to be made clear from the words and pictures on the sign. But everyone has a situation now and then when the meaning isn’t so obvious.

With that in mind, Cheap Insurance has developed a list of road signs and their meanings for you to use. While this doesn’t include every road sign out there, it’ll help you recognize all the ones you’re likely to come across if you go on a road trip – when the majority of road sign confusion happens.

First, remember you can find traffic signs in all the following colors:

  • Red: Only used for stop, yield, and prohibition signs
  • White: Used for the background of regulatory signs to improve visibility, especially at night
  • Green: Provide information on permitted direction of traffic flow and movement
  • Orange: Construction or detour
  • Fluorescent Yellow or Green: Used for pedestrian crossings and school zones
  • Coral: Only used for incident management signs, e.g. traffic emergencies ahead
  • Brown: Indicate sites of cultural interest or recreation areas open to visits from the public
  • Blue: Guide drivers to services, provide information for tourists, or show evacuation routes

Road signs also come in eight shapes with specific purposes:

  • Octagon: Stop
  • Triangle: Yield
  • Vertical Rectangle: Regulatory information
  • PentagonSchool zone
  • Round: Railroad crossing
  • Pennant: No passing
  • Diamond: Warning
  • Horizontal Rectangle: Guidance

If you can’t quite remember what a sign is for, referencing the color and shape can help. But it’s always best to remember the sign instantly so you can start to take action without needing to think about it. That’s one of the most important elements of defensive driving.

Here are some common road signs and their meanings:


1. Stop Sign

A stop sign is one of the few red road warning signs and the only one with an octagonal shape, making it recognizable from far away. The text is white and there is a white border for visibility. At a stop sign, you must come to a complete stop. You must stop fully at the stop line, crosswalk, or intersection.

2. Narrow Bridge Sign / Road Narrows Sign

These are both diamond-shaped signs that depict a path becoming more narrow in the middle. They both indicate the driver is about to reach a point where the way ahead narrows compared to the road they are currently on. Bridges typically narrow due to the absence of shoulders.

3. Divided Highway Sign

This diamond-shaped sign depicts two wavy arrows pointed in opposite directions along with a tunnel at the bottom, between the arrows. It communicates that there are two lanes of opposing traffic on the oncoming highway and that they are divided by a guardrail, concrete barricade, or a strip of land.

4. Slow-Moving Vehicle Sign

Slow-moving vehicle is a very rare road sign displayed on the back of qualifying vehicles. It is an orange triangle with a red border for visibility. Drivers in Pennsylvania may see these displayed on the back of a horse-drawn buggy. When you see this sign, it is a cue to reduce your speed and maintain a safe distance.

5. Slippery Road Sign

Slippery road is a yellow, diamond-shaped sign that depicts a car at the top with two wiggly lines emanating from the wheels. These indicate reduced traction due to rain, snow, or icy conditions. Reduce your speed and avoid sudden changes in direction, especially on bridges and overpasses that freeze quickly in the cold.

6. Two-Way Traffic Sign

This diamond-shaped sign depicts two vertical arrows, side by side, with the arrowheads pointed in opposite directions. It discloses that you are on a road with traffic going in two directions. Unlike the divided highway sign above, traffic flow may be divided only by a double yellow line.

7. Side Road Sign

A side road sign is a diamond-shaped sign with a black marking that looks similar to a sideways “T.” It warns that there is a side road that enters the highway near this area. There is a danger of collision if traffic emerges from the side road unexpectedly. Reduce speed and keep your eyes peeled.

8. No U-Turn Sign

Rules about 180-degree turns vary a great deal by state. The no U-turn sign is a white, square sign with an arrow that bends over against itself, crossed out in red. Do not make a U-turn in this area. Proceed until you reach an intersection where your desired turn can be made, or change direction by circling the block.

9. Merge Sign

The merge sign is a diamond-shaped regulatory sign that features a black border. In the center of the sign is a large black arrow pointing upward, with a small diagonal “tail” curving to the bottom right to show merging. This tells drivers that two separate roadways will merge into one and they should get into the correct lane.

10. Interstate Sign

An interstate sign is a blue sign that consists of a rectangular directional indicator – north, east, south, or west – and a red and blue shield-like emblem giving the name of the interstate in white text: For example, “Interstate Colorado 25 North.” This helps you navigate the interstate highway system at major intersections.

11. Guide Sign

A guide sign is usually a green rectangular sign with a white border and text. It gives the names of landmarks and how far away they are in miles. It may also point a direction so you know whether you need to take the next available turn. Rest area signs, street signs, exit marker signs, and toll road signs are all guide signs.

12. Do Not Pass Sign

A do not pass sign is a white rectangular regulatory sign with black text. It indicates that the stretch of road ahead is not safe for passing. No passing zones are created based on reduced visibility. Hills, curves, and other features may directly reduce visibility or create other hazards that would be hard to avoid while passing.

13. Dip Sign

This diamond-shaped sign features the word “DIP” in capital letters. This alerts drivers to an area of lower elevation in the road. It is suggested that drivers slow down when they see the sign. Passing through a depressed roadway at high speeds could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

We hope this list of road signs and their meanings will help you stay safe on your next trip. Another way to stay safe is by having the best car insurance. You can compare car insurance online with Cheap Insurance right now. Get started or contact our team to find out more!

Also, Read: Different Ways To Avoid The Need For SR22 Insurance

types of road signs