The Different Types of Traffic Signs
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The Different Types of Traffic Signs

The Different Types of Traffic Signs

MUTCD & Safety Guidance   /   Sep 29th, 2020   /  A+ | a-

The different types of traffic signs are recognizable by shape and color—as long as drivers can see them. Repair and replace signs as soon as possible.

Drivers depend on signs to get where they’re going without danger. To ensure that critical signage is visible and where it should be, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices issues requirements and guidelines. The different types of traffic signs have different purposes, shapes, colors, and time frames for repair. Here’s what you need to know. 

Regulatory Signs

These signs remind drivers of laws and regulations—the “rules of the road.” Regulatory signs are usually a combination of black and white (speed limit signs) and red (“stop,” “yield”). Damaged or missing regulatory signs should be replaced or repaired within hours.

Warning Signs

These signs provide drivers with advance notice of potential hazards or conditions of the road ahead. They are particularly helpful to motorists who are unfamiliar with a road, and have a yellow background. Examples include “merge ahead,” “school zone,” “pedestrian crossing.” Damaged or missing warning signs should be replaced or repaired as soon as possible or—at the most—within three days.

Guide Signs

These signs help drivers navigate. There are a variety of guide signs that display route designations, destinations, directions, distances, services, points of interest, and other geographical, recreational, and cultural information.
The absence of these signs could lead to erratic maneuvers, such as slowing or stopping in the roadway and making abrupt turns. They’re key for emergency responders who need to find locations quickly.
Common examples include street name signs (green), route signs, and destination and distance signs. Included in this category are blue general service signs (for instance, the hospital symbol) and general information signs (the library symbol).
Because guide signs convey so much information, it can take a few days for them to be custom manufactured. Damaged or missing warning signs should be ordered immediately and repaired or replaced within approximately seven working days. More critical signs should be attended to as soon as possible.

Temporary Signs for Work Zones

Whenever roads are a location for construction, utility work, or maintenance, they’re indicated with temporary warning signs. They are recognizable by their orange backgrounds and black words and symbols (“road work ahead,” “detour”). Travel through work zones can be hazardous because of unusual or different conditions that drivers may not expect. Work zone warning signs should be maintained for peak visibility. Replacement is discretionary.

As long as there are drivers on the road, the need for well-maintained and accurate traffic signs is urgent. Agencies should adopt written policies about repairing and replacing different types of traffic signs according to the recommended time frames. Specific response procedures and time guidelines are helpful for normal work periods as well as after-hours needs.

Custom Products Company manufactures signs quickly for fewer disruptions in traffic. We also customize signs for your needs, ensure they meet all regulations, and even include the traffic sign mounting hardware to install them securely. Contact us to help keep your streets safe.

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