Idaho Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

Idaho Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

About to take your Idaho written exam?

Want to be a safe driver on the Idaho roadways?

Whatever the case, we’ve made a complete guide of the Idaho road signs for you. 

Now, there are LOTS of road signs in Idaho. Traffic signs alone have different categories – some tell you what you can and cannot do, while others guide or warn you. 

But with this complete guide, you’ll know it ALL – traffic signs, traffic signals, and even pavement markings. 

So let’s dive right in!

Idaho Traffic Signs

If you’re driving in Idaho, you must be prepared to encounter different kinds of traffic signs. These are broken down into the following categories:

  • Regulatory Signs
  • Work Zone Signs
  • Warming Signs
  • Guide Signs

Let’s explore each of these and see their respective meanings.

Regulatory Signs

The first kind of traffic sign we’ll tackle is regulatory. As the name implies, they inform motorists whether or not some actions are required or prohibited in specific areas.

Generally, regulatory signs in Idaho are black and white. However, there are several that are red and white.

Here are 4 regulatory signs that follow the red and white color scheme:

A stop sign is a red and white sign with eight sides. You must do a complete stop at a marked stop line when you encounter it. If no stop line is present, it’s best to stop before the crosswalk. Still, if there is no crosswalk, stop at the space nearest an intersecting highway. Ensure you have a clear view of the oncoming traffic before entering it.
Another red and white sign is the Yield sign. As its name implies, you must slow down and yield the right-of-way to other vehicles in the intersection. If you’re approaching a crosswalk and pedestrians are crossing, you must wait until they reach the opposite side.
You cannot continue in the direction you’re traveling in if you see this sign.
You are going in the wrong direction.

Regulatory signs that comply with the standard black and white color scheme include the following:

Speed Limit

Keep Right of Island

No Left Turn

No Right Turn

No U-Turn

Proceed Straight

Left Turn Only
Right Turn Only

Work Zone Signs 

Next, we have work zone signs. 

Areas where there is ongoing construction work present multiple hazards to motorists. When you find yourself driving through one, it’s best to keep an eye out for them.

Don’t worry — work zone signs are typically orange, making them easy to spot. Here are some examples of what you may encounter.

Lane ShiftThis sign indicates that the lane you’re using will eventually shift. You must follow it as it happens.
Prepare to StopBegin to slow down when you see this sign. It means there’s work ahead, and you’ll eventually be required to stop.
Slow Moving VehicleYou typically see this sign on off-road vehicles, such as construction equipment. They don’t travel as fast as others, so you should slow down and approach cautiously.
Road ClosedThe only vehicles that can enter a road with this sign are authorized personnel. You must find an alternative route if you encounter it.
Be careful, though. You may run into another sign that also says “Road Closed” but is yellow or white. It means residential or commercial traffic can pass through the area IF they need to make a stop somewhere within the construction zone. Otherwise, you will need to travel using an alternative route.
As the sign says, you must decrease your speed in this area. Remember, fines are typically more expensive if officers catch you speeding in a work zone.

Warning Signs

There’s nothing more crucial than remaining safe while on the road. That’s what makes warning signs essential. As you might guess, these signs inform you of hazards you may encounter as you keep driving.

Here are the most common warning signs you encounter in Idaho:

Open Range Livestock roam freely in the area. You must yield the right-of-way if you encounter one on the road.

3-Way Intersection There is a T-intersection ahead where you must turn left or right. However, you should yield the right-of-way to vehicles coming from other directions.

Intersection/Crossroad Ahead Be mindful of cross-traffic because another road crosses the one you’re on.

Traffic Signal Ahead Indicates that an intersection with a traffic signal is ahead. You typically see this sign on roads with higher speed limits. 

Merging Traffic You should be careful because vehicles are about to enter the lane you’re traveling on.

Two-Way Traffic You are leaving a multi-lane highway and are about to enter a two-lane area where traffic goes in both directions.

Lane Ends/Merge Left A two-lane road will eventually become a single lane

Added Lane The highway you’re on will converge with another. Traffic in the left lane may begin shifting to the right. If you’re moving to the left lane, make sure you signal before doing so.

School Zone You are approaching a school zone with a crossing, so anticipate children in the crossing.  Remember to follow the speed limits in a school zone. Otherwise, you may have increased penalties. 

School Crossing Reduce your speed because there may be children at the crossing. You might notice that this sign is fluorescent yellow or green, making it visible.

Pedestrian Crossing Remember that you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing. Sometimes, it’s accompanied by flashing lights, indicating someone is passing.

Divided Highway Begins Expect a center strip to divide the two-way traffic ahead.

Divided Highway Ends The center strip dividing two-way traffic is about to end. Be mindful of oncoming traffic.

Low Clearance Overhead clearance is low. Ensure your vehicle can fit. Otherwise, go a different route.

Railroad Crossing Expect a railroad crossing ahead. You must stop before you reach the tracks if a train is approaching.

Slippery When Wet Wet weather conditions may result in a slippery surface. Exercise caution while driving.

Hill The road you’re traveling on goes down a steep angle. Ensure your brakes are working properly.

No Passing Zone You cannot pass other vehicles traveling in the same direction.

Share the Road You may not find bicycle lanes on all Idaho roadways. You must anticipate sharing the road with them.

Animal Crossing Watch out for animals crossing the road.

Emergency Notification System Sign You’ll usually find this sign near a railroad crossing. The contact details allow you to notify the railroad of emergencies or malfunctions.

Guide Signs

Guide signs help you find your way to a specific location or service. They typically come in three colors.

White on green for directions and distance:

Idaho Road Signs

Blue for motorist’s services:

Idaho Road Signs

White on brown for points of interest (scenic, cultural, or historical):

Idaho Road Signs

Idaho Traffic Signals

Most drivers are familiar with traffic signals. However, you can never be too careful. Ensure you know what the different lights and colors mean.

Red Light Variations

  • Steady Red Light: You must stop when the light turns red. Make sure to stop before a stop line, intersection, or crosswalk. 

You can turn right unless another traffic sign prohibits it.

  • Flashing Red Light: It also means you must stop. You can proceed after yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians or crossing traffic.
  • Steady Red Arrow: You cannot turn in the direction the arrow is pointing until the light changes.

Yellow Light Variations

  • Steady Yellow Light: When you see the light turn yellow, you must exercise caution because it’s about to become red. It’s best to avoid entering an intersection at a yellow light. However, if you already have, continue until you’ve cleared it.
  • Flashing Yellow Light: It means you must proceed with caution. You may encounter potential dangers on the road.
  • Solid Yellow Arrow: It carries the same meaning as a steady yellow light, except it pertains specifically to the direction it’s pointing.
  • Flashing Yellow Arrow: You can turn after yielding the right-of-way to crossing pedestrians and oncoming traffic.

Green Light Variations

  • Green Light: You may proceed if the traffic signal shows a green light. However, watch out for several things:
  • Yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic if you’re in the left-turn lane.
  • Do not enter an intersection if there isn’t enough space on the other side, causing you to block traffic.
  • Steady Green Arrow: It has the same meaning as a green circular light, except that it pertains specifically to the direction it’s pointing.

A Doghouse Signal

This typically indicates a protected left turn. Let’s take the image as an example.

doghouse signal

A yellow light means the protected left turn is ending. Begin to reduce speed and prepare to stop.

Pedestrian Crossing

Remember, traffic signals in Idaho aren’t just for motorists. 

An excellent example of this is the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (HAWK). You’ll notice it immediately because it doesn’t look like a typical traffic signal. Instead of having three stacked colored lights, these have two red lights over a yellow one.

The HAWK system only activates once a pedestrian pushes its button. Here’s a quick overview of what happens when the button is pressed. 

Motorist’s PerspectivePedestrian’s Perspective
What Drivers SeeWhat You Should DoWhat Pedestrians SeeWhat They Should Do

The HAWK system isn’t activated. Proceed carefully.Push the button if they want to cross.
Flashing Yellow LightThe HAWK system is activated but you can continue driving. Wait until it’s safe to cross.

Steady Yellow Light
Reduce your speed and stop if it’s safe.

Steady Red Lights
Come to a complete stop. A pedestrian is crossing.Wait until all vehicles have stopped and begin crossing.
 Flashing Red LightsContinue to stop but you can resume driving carefully if all pedestrians have crossed to the other side.Continue crossing; do your best to get to the other side before the timer runs out.

Resume driving. The HAWK system has been deactivated.You cannot cross unless you activate the system.

Idaho Pavement Markings

This last section veers away from signals and signs. You’ll have to look on the actual pavement to see these markings.

Now, in Idaho, there are eleven pavement markings to keep in mind.

Dashed Yellow Line
You can cross a dashed yellow line if it’s safe.

Double Solid Yellow Lines
Traffic from either lane cannot cross double solid yellow lines. However, if you’re turning left into or out of a driveway or entrance to a business, you can. This marking prohibits passing.

A Solid Yellow Line and A Dashed Yellow Line
Vehicles on the side of the dashed line can cross to pass others on the road. Vehicles on the side of the solid yellow line cannot pass. 
Shared LanesThe lane with solid and dashed yellow lines on both sides is the center lane. You cannot use it except to make left or U-turns when permitted.

Edge Lines
Solid white lines mark the edge of roads to help keep you on track, especially when you drive at night.

Solid White Lane Line
Switching lanes is discouraged when there’s a solid white line between them and where traffic travels in the same direction.

Solid White Lane Line with a Bicycle Symbol
It marks the areas dedicated to bicyclists. They must travel in the same direction as the vehicles in the next lane.
Dashed White Lane LinesYou usually find lanes in multi-lane roadways separated by dashed white lines. Although you’re allowed to cross them, only do so when it’s safe. You must always stay within these lines.
Double Solid White Lane LinesYou cannot cross a double white line, even if traffic in both lanes is going in the same direction.

Dashed Bike Lane Lines
These lines mean you can shift to the bicycle lane if you’re preparing to turn right. In turn, cyclists can cross them and merge with the traffic on the left. You usually find these at intersections and, sometimes, driveways.

Green Pavement in Bicycle Lane
This marking indicates that two district movements cross over each other. Since it has a bicycle symbol, you must be aware that cyclists may be using that lane.  Bicyclists, in turn, must also keep an eye out for motorists who may share the lane with them.

The Wrap Up

So that your complete guide to the Idaho road signs. 

Sure, you may feel it’s a lot — and you’re right. But knowing these and their respective meanings ensures you can keep yourself (and others) safe while on the road. It also helps you avoid fines and penalties for violating some road rules.

Always keep these in mind and drive safe!

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