Regulatory signs tell drivers what they must do, or must not do, according to the law. They give information about rules for traffic direction, speed, lane use, stopping, yielding, turning, parking, and other special situations. Drivers must obey the instructions on regulatory signs. If they don’t, they are breaking the law, and could be fined and receive points on their driving record. Drivers who disobey the messages on regulatory signs also risk their safety and the safety of others.
Regulatory signs are typically white, red, or black with black, white or red letters or symbols. They are usually square or rectangular, but some have a special shape. Some regulatory signs have a red circle with a red slash over a symbol. These signs prohibit certain actions, and the symbol inside the circle tells drivers what is prohibited.
Warning signs alert road users to changes in roadway conditions or possible hazards ahead. These signs are posted before the condition, so drivers have time to slow down, see what is ahead and decide how they should respond. Warning signs are usually diamond-shaped, with black symbols or words on a yellow background.
Construction Signs / Work Zone Signs
Work zone signs are normally diamond-shaped, with black letters or symbols on an orange background.
These signs identify construction, maintenance, utility or emergency operations areas, and warn drivers that workers or equipment may be on or near the roadway. These warnings include workers ahead, reduced speed, suddenly changing road surfaces, lane closures, detours and slow moving construction equipment. In work zones, traffic may be controlled by a person with a flag or stop/slow paddles. Flaggers have the same authority as a regulatory sign, and drivers must obey their directions.
Most guide signs are horizontal rectangles, with white letters and numbers on a green background. Guide signs direct motorists to cities and towns by telling them where they are, what road they are on and how to get where they want to go. These signs give information about directions, distances, proper exits etc. On highways and expressways, one advance guide sign is usually followed by another advance sign, with the third sign posted at the exit.
Service signs are square or rectangular, with white letters or symbols on a blue background. These signs direct drivers towards service facilities such as hospitals, rest areas, gas stations, restaurants and motels.