What are traffic signs, signals and road markings for?
a) It is an effective method of indicating right-of-way
b) Direction of flow of traffic
c) Warnings of dangerous driving conditions
Colors of Signs
There are eight basic colors on signs, each of which has a special meaning. It is important that you memorize the meanings of the colors.
RED signs are regulatory signs and must be obeyed. They include STOP, YIELD, DO NOT ENTER or WRONG WAY.
YELLOW is used for warning signs. These signs tell you of road conditions and dangers ahead.
ORANGE also is used for warning signs. These signs alert you to possible dangers ahead due to construction and maintenance projects.
GREEN is used for guide signs. These signs tell you where you are, which way to go and the distance.
BLUE also is used for guide signs. These signs tell you about services along the roadway.
BROWN is used for parks and recreation signs.
Shapes of Signs
There are seven basic shapes of signs, each with a special purpose. Other shapes may be used for special purposes. For example, various shields may be used as route markers, while two crossed panels may be found at railroad crossings.
Do Not Enter
Rail Road Crossing
No Pedestrian Crossing
Divided Highway Ends
Left Winding Road Ahead
No Passing Zone
Merge Left Lane
Slippery When Wet
Incoming Traffic on Right
Stop Intersection Ahead
Yield Intersection Ahead
Left and Right Only Road Ahead
Traffic Control Light
High Occupancy Vehicle Lane
Straight/Right Only Lane
Right Only Lane
This eight-sided red sign means STOP. You must make a complete stop at the stop line. If there is no stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection. Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and approaching traffic. If it is an all-way STOP sign, wait your turn. If the STOP sign is hand-held, stop until an authorized person, such as a school guard or construction zone flagger, signals that it is safe to proceed.
This three-sided sign means YIELD the right-of-way. You must let all traffic and pedestrians near you go before you proceed. YIELD signs are red and white.
This round sign means RAILROAD CROSSING ahead. RAILROAD CROSSING signs are yellow with a black crossbuck X and the letters RR. It is an advance warning sign that means a railroad track will cross the roadway ahead. In rural areas the sign may be up to 750 feet in advance of the railroad crossing. Slow down, look and stop if necessary. Roll your vehicle windows down and listen to make certain other noises do not block out the sound of a train. If a train is approaching, stop and wait. Do not try to race the train to the crossing.
This diamond-shaped sign means WARNING. It may be yellow, yellow-green or orange with black wording or symbols. This sign warns you about hazards or possible hazards on or near the roadway. Slow down and use caution when you see these signs.
This five-sided sign is shaped like an old school house. It is yellow or yellow-green with black symbols. It means either SCHOOL ZONE or SCHOOL CROSSING. If the sign shows two children walking, a school is near. If the sign shows two children walking with a downward pointing arrow, you are at a school crossing.
This three-sided sign is shaped like a pennant. It is yellow with black wording. The sign will appear on the left side of a two-lane, two-way roadway. It is posted at the beginning of a NO-PASSING ZONE where "no-passing" pavement markings are also used.
Squares and/or rectangles can be used either as regulatory or as guide signs.
Regulatory signs tell you what to do. You must always obey them.
An eight-sided (octagon) sign tells you to always make a full stop. You must make a complete stop at the stop line. If there is no stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection. Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and closely approaching traffic. If it is an all-way STOP sign, wait your turn.
This sign means there are four STOP signs at the intersection. Traffic from all directions must stop. The first driver to stop is the first driver to go. Other drivers must wait their turn. You also may see 3-WAY, 5-WAY or ALL-WAY signs.
The three-sided (triangle) sign tells you to give the right-of-way to all vehicles and pedestrians near you. Slow down to a safe speed and stop if necessary. When stopping, do so at a marked crosswalk or before entering the intersection. You also may see YIELD signs on expressway ramps. These signs are posted when there is no extra lane where drivers may speed up to merge with expressway traffic.
Do Not Enter
This sign is posted on one-way streets and other roadways you are not allowed to enter. You also will see this sign if you try to enter an expressway ramp in the wrong direction.
Speed Zone Ahead
The larger sign tells you there is a speed zone ahead. The smaller sign tells what the speed limit will be.
Some signs show maximum and minimum speed limits for all types of vehicles on freeways and limited access highways. In construction and maintenance zones, posted speeds legally reduce the speed limit on that portion of the highway. Unless necessary for safety, driving slower than the minimum is illegal.
This sign tells you that your vehicle is moving in the wrong direction. You will see this sign on expressway ramps a short distance past the DO NOT ENTER sign. You also will see this sign if you turn the wrong way into a one-way street, alley or driveway.
No (Not Allowed)
Signs having a red circle with a red slash from the upper-left to the lower-right mean no. The picture within the circle shows what is not allowed.
These signs are posted on divided highways or expressways. You may see one where there is an opening in the divided highway that leads to the other side. These openings are for authorized vehicles only such as police cars, ambulances, snow plows, construction/maintenance equipment and other emergency vehicles. You may not use this opening.
No Right Turn
These signs indicate that no right turns are allowed.
These signs are used on one-way streets or driveways. You must always go only in the direction of the arrow.
Two-Way Left Turn Lanes
Either of two signs can be used to indicate a two-way left turn lane in the center of a highway. Along with a sign, the two-way left turn lane is marked with yellow lines and white arrows.
No Turn on Red
This sign is used at some intersections. It tells you that a right turn on a red light or a left turn on a red light at intersecting one-way streets is prohibited. It may also show a red circle instead of the word red.
This sign is used on approaches to a divided highway. It tells you that a median separates both directions of traffic on the road you are going to turn onto or cross.
This sign tells you where to drive when you approach traffic islands, medians or other obstructions in the middle of the roadway. You must drive to the side indicated by the arrow.
Slower Traffic Keep Right
This sign is posted for those driving slower than the normal speed of traffic on a multilane highway. It tells the slow driver to drive in the right lane.
Stop Here on Red
This sign is used when it is not clear where vehicles must stop at an intersection with traffic signals.
Do Not Pass
This sign tells you that you may not pass other vehicles. It is posted on some two-lane roads where traffic goes in both directions. There will also be yellow "no passing" lines on the road
Pass with Care
This sign tells you that you are at the end of the no-passing zone. You may pass now only when it is safe.
This sign is used when the road is closed to all traffic. You may not continue on the road.
Warning signs alert you to conditions ahead. These signs are usually diamond-shaped and warn you about road hazards, construction sites, schools or other situations that require your special attention. While most warning signs are yellow, some Illinois communities may have fluorescent yellow-green pedestrian and school signs. Construction and maintenance warning signs are orange.
This sign tells you there is a crosswalk. However, it may not be at an intersection so you must watch both sides of the street for pedestrians.
Other Special Crossings
These signs alert drivers in advance of special areas where vehicles and pedestrians may be crossing.
These signs warn you of school areas and crossings. Stay alert and watch for small children. Adult school crossing guards, auxiliary police or police officers often supervise these street crossings when students are going to and from school. School safety patrol members may assist the crossing guards. Slow down and stop when necessary.
The first three signs show two children walking. They warn of school crossings ahead or of school buildings or grounds next to the roadway. The fourth sign shows two children walking in a crosswalk and is posted at school crossing signals.
These two signs are used in areas where a reduced-speed school zone has been established.
The posted speed applies only on school days when children are present (usual school hours are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., but hours may vary), where a potential hazard exists because of the children’s close proximity to traffic, or when a light is flashing.
Note: Some Illinois communities may have flourescent yellow–green signs.
Stop Ahead/Yield Ahead/Signal Ahead
These signs warn of traffic controls ahead. Although the traffic signal may not yet be visible, the traffic signs are close enough to require you to start slowing down. Advance warning signs also are used in high-speed areas because of the longer distance needed to slow down or stop.
Four signs warn you of intersections ahead where traffic may exist or where a right or left turn may be required. A sign naming the intersecting road also may be posted.
Turns and Curves
Certain signs are posted before turns and curves. The shape of the arrow tells you what to expect. A small sign showing the maximum safe speed also may be posted below the arrow.
Posted at freeway exit ramps, this sign shows the maximum safe speed a vehicle can be driven on the ramp.
All roads are slippery and dangerous when wet. This sign warns of conditions that can cause you to lose control of your car. You should slow down because it takes longer to stop on slippery pavement.
This sign warns you of a dangerous hill. It may be very long or steep, or it may have sharp curves. Slow down before you start down the hill.
This sign warns you that a bridge has a narrow roadway. The bridge width is 2 feet less than the width of the approach pavement.
Reduction in Lanes
This sign is used on multilane highways to warn you of a reduction in the number of traffic lanes in the direction you are traveling. Be prepared to change lanes or to allow other vehicles to merge into your lane.
This sign warns drivers that a two-lane road suddenly narrows.
This sign is used on two-lane, two-way roads. It warns you not to pass. The sign is posted on the left side of the road at the beginning of a no passing zone.
This sign tells you that two lanes of traffic going the same direction will soon merge into one lane. Be ready to either change lanes or allow other traffic to merge into your lane. Merge signs appear on expressways just before expressway ramps. The driver on the expressway slows down to let the driver on the ramp merge.
Change in Direction
This sign warns you of a change in direction or narrowing of the road. You may find several of these signs on the outside of a sharp curve or on approaches to a narrow bridge.
Divided highways have a center strip that separates traffic going in opposite directions. The first sign is posted before a divided highway begins.
The second sign is posted just before the divided highway ends. Be careful as you near the end of a divided highway. Two-way traffic will begin again.
This sign tells you that you are leaving a divided roadway and will be driving on a two-way highway.
A driver must always obey the posted work zone speed limit. Standard speed limits may be reduced due to the presence of workers or because normal driving conditions do not exist in a work zone. There may be narrow lanes, drop-offs between lanes or at the edge of pavement, lane closures, or construction equipment or obstructions near open lanes of traffic. The speed limit may be further reduced when workers are present.
The reduced speed in work zones is for the safety of both motorists and workers. Slower speeds give drivers more time to safely negotiate work zones. About 85 percent of work zone fatalities are motorists.
These signs are posted far enough ahead to give you time to adjust your speed for any unusual conditions. When you see these signs, workers may be working close to your traffic lane. Follow the signs and adjust your speed to the posted work zone speed limit, stay alert, and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and all traffic barriers.
Warning Cones, Drums and Barricades
These devices are used to protect you from dangerous locations in construction and maintenance areas. Traffic cones, drums and barricades mark a path for you to follow in a construction area. Drive slow, be alert for dangers and be prepared to stop.
Barricades and vertical panels with sloping stripes warn the motorist to stay to the down sloping side. The examples shown are sloped downward to the left, telling the motorist to stay left of the vertical panel or barricade.
Warning Lights and Arrow Boards
Warning lights help draw your attention to drums and barricades at night. Arrow boards warn the motorist of an upcoming lane closure,or caution when construction is ahead.
This sign warns that there is a flagperson ahead. Always follow his/her directions.
This sign warns that there is a flagperson ahead. Always follow his/her directions.
A driver should use caution when approaching a flagperson. The flagger will be working very close to your traffic lane. Slow down and be prepared to obey the signals of the flagperson. One of three devices combined with hand signals may be used to direct motorists. You must stop if signaled to do so. Be alert and remain stopped until signaled to proceed.
A driver may encounter automated flagger assistance devices in work zones. A flagperson will be operating the device from nearby. The automated flagger must be obeyed the same as a flagperson.