Illinois Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

Illinois Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

In Illinois, there are lots of road signs you’ll encounter while driving. 

And, it’s important to obey these signs. I mean, they are there for a good purpose. 

But how can you obey them if you don’t understand what they mean?

We’re here to help. 

Today, we’re going to give you a complete guide to the Illinois road signs.  With this, you’ll be able to understand each one with just a glance…

It will even help you ace the Illinois permit test. 

So this guide is for just about anyone. 

Let’s begin!

Illinois Roadway Signs

Did you know that each shape, color, and word on a roadway sign means something?

In the following sections, we’ll tell you the meaning of each shape, color, and word. 

Sign Shapes

Sample SignShapeMeaning
OctagonStop. You need to make a complete stop. 
This is often seen before crosswalks or intersections.
Inverted triangleYield. Let traffic or pedestrians pass.
RoundRailroad crossing ahead.
This is a warning sign signaling that there is a railroad ahead. Slow down, look at both sides, and stop. 
If a train is approaching, never cross ahead of it. 
DiamondWarning. The sign warns you of certain hazards ahead. 
Pentagon School zone or school crossing
Triangle pointing to the sideNo passing zone
This will appear on one side of the road to indicate a one-way or a two-way roadway.
Square/rectanglesUsed for regulatory or guide signs

Sign Colors

Red means regulatory signs and must be followed. Common signs are stop, yield, do not enter, and wrong way
Black/white signs mean regulatory signs and must be followed. 
Other signs with these colors are route markers. 
Yellow means warning signs.
Yellow-green is another color for warning signs. 
This usually alerts you of pedestrians, bicycles, playgrounds, school zones, and school buses. 
Orange is another color for warning signs. 
This one alerts you of construction or maintenance zones. 
Green means guide signs. 
They show where to go, directions, and destinations ahead. 
Blue means guide signs. 
They show services ahead. For example, gas stations, hospitals, etc.
Brown means parks and recreation signs. 
Pink mean traffic incident signs
This alerts you to possible dangers due to unplanned traffic incidents caused by collisions and natural disasters. 

Now that you know the shapes and colors, let’s look at the specific signs for regulatory, warning, construction, and guide signs. 

Regulatory Signs

Stop – make a full stop at the stop line.
All-way stop – there are stop signs at each intersection ahead. Traffic from all directions should stop. 
The first driver to stop must be the first driver to go. 
Yield – give way to the right of way vehicles or pedestrians. 
Do Not Enter – shown on one-way streets.
Speed Limit – shows maximum/minimum speed allowed for all vehicles. Driving slower than the minimum or faster than the maximum is illegal. 
Wrong Way – you are traveling in the wrong direction, usually on a one-way street. 
No [Vehicle] Allowed – shows that the vehicle with a slashed sign is not allowed to enter. In this case, bicycles are not allowed to enter. 
No U-Turn – you’re not allowed to u-turn unless you are driving a police car, ambulance, snow plow, or construction/maintenance vehicle. 
No Left/Right Turn – you’re not allowed to turn in the direction indicated. 
One-Way – for one-way streets. Only go in the direction stated. 
Two-Way Left Turn Lanes – used to indicate left turn lanes. They are accompanied by yellow lines and white arrows on the pavement. 
No Turn on Red – used at some intersections to tell you to not turn a right when the red light is on. 
Divided Highway – informs you that you’re on a divided highway where a median separates the two directions of the roadway. 
Keep Right – keep right when approaching traffic islands, medians, or obstructions.
Slower Traffic Keep Right – for vehicles that are driving slower than normal speed, they should drive in the rightmost lane.
Stop Here on Red – shows where you must stop as you approach an intersection. 
Do Not Pass – you may not pass. This is usually shown on two-lane roads.
Pass with Care – you have reached the end of a no-passing zone. Pass when it’s safe. 
Road Closed – the road is closed to all traffic and vehicles. 
Bike Lane – designated for bicyclists. 

Warning Signs

Pedestrian Crosswalk – shows you there is a crosswalk. 
Crosswalks aren’t always at intersections so some signs will show an arrow pointing to the road. 
Special Crossing Signs – alert drivers of certain vehicles that cross the road.
School Signs – indicate the presence of a school zone with students crossing. 
The third and fourth photos show crosswalks in the school zone. 
The last two photos show the speed limit when approaching and when in a school zone. This applies only on school days from 6:30 AM – 4 PM. 
Stop Ahead/Yield Ahead/Signal Ahead – warn you of approaching traffic control signals. Start to slow down. 
Intersections Ahead – shows the type of intersection you are approaching. Reduce speed. 
Turns and Curves – indicate turns and curves ahead. They show what the road looks like so you can expect to turn in their direction. 
Exit Ramp – shown at freeway and interstate exit ramps. Follow the maximum speed indicated. 
Speed Zone Ahead – be prepared to alter your current speed.
Slippery Pavement – the road is slippery when wet. Slow down. 
Downgrade – warns you of a dangerous hill ahead. Slow down before you start going down the hill. 
Narrow Bridge – there is a bridge ahead with a narrow roadway, usually less than 2 feet in width. 
Reduction in Lanes – found in multi-lane highways that show a reduction in the lanes ahead. Reduced lanes can be temporary or permanent. 
Adjust speed and give way to vehicles to avoid collisions. 
Road Narrows – it warns you of a two-lane road that will narrow ahead.
No Passing – this will appear on one side of the road to indicate a one-way or a two-way roadway.
Merging Lanes – two lanes of traffic will merge ahead. Be ready to change lanes or to give way for merging traffic. 
Change in Direction – warns you of a change in direction ahead, usually found in curves.
Divided Highway – shows that you are approaching a section of the road with a center strip. 
Two-Way Roadway – you are approaching a two-way highway.

Construction and Maintenance Signs

Workers Ahead – workers may be close ahead. Slow down and stay alert. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the traffic barriers. 
Warning Cones, Drums, and Barricades – used to separate traffic from construction and maintenance zones.
Warning Lights and Arrow Boards – alerts you of drums and barricades at night. 
Flagger – warns that there is a flagger ahead. Use caution, slow down, and obey the signals of the flagger ahead.

Guide Signs

Guide signs tell you where you are and how to go to a specific location. They are often rectangular or square, but some route markers have different shapes. 

Illinois Road Signs

Illinois Traffic Signals

Traffic signals must be obeyed at all times unless there is a police officer that tells you otherwise. 

Here are the traffic signals in Illinois:

Red steady light – stop at the marked line. If there is no line, stop right before the crosswalk. If there are neither, stop before you enter the intersection. 
Yellow steady light – warns you that the signal is going to be red. 
Green steady light – you may go after yielding to pedestrians or bicyclists. 
Flashing Red – you must stop, then go when it’s safe. Always yield the right of way.
Flashing Yellow – proceed with caution when passing an intersection
Red arrow (constantly lit) – you cannot turn to the direction shown unless the light turns green. 
Yellow arrow (constantly lit) – the light is about to turn red or green.
Yellow arrow (flashing) – you may turn in the direction shown but only after yielding.
Green arrow – you may go ahead where the direction is pointing. 
Walk / Walking person – you may cross the roadway
Don’t Walk / Upraised flashing orange hand – do not enter the roadway, but if you have already crossed, continue to walk to the other side.
Don’t Walk / Upraised constantly hit hand – do not enter the roadway. 
Red “X” – never drive in this lane when the red ‘x’ is flashed
Yellow “X” – the lane signal is going to change to red, leave the lane when this light appears
Green Arrow – the lane can be used

Ilinois Pavement Markings

And finally, here are the pavement markings you’ll find in Illinois:

Solid Edge LinesShows the edge of the pavement. Yellow edge lines are used on the left side to divide streets, while white edge lines are used on the right.
White Lane LinesSeparate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. 
Broken white lane lines – crossing the lines are allowed to change lines or to turn
Solid white lane lines – crossing is discouraged, but if you must, cross or turn with care
Solid double white lanes – crossing is prohibited
Yellow Center LinesSeparate lanes of traffic moving in opposite directions. 
Broken yellow center lines – passing is allowed
Solid double yellow lines – mark the center of the roadway and may be crossed if making a left turn to or from an alley, private road, or driveway
Yellow No Passing LinesSeparate lanes of traffic moving in opposite directions. It sometimes has a yellow broken line beside it. 
If there is a solid yellow line beside a broken yellow line, you can only turn if the broken line is on your side. 
Two-Way Left Turn LanesUses yellow lines and white arrows. The lane should not be used unless for making a left turn or U-turn.
White Stop LineUsually painted across a lane approaching an intersection. This line is where you should stop to let pedestrians pass or when the red light turns on. 
White Crosswalk LinesIndicates a crosswalk for pedestrians.


That was a lot!

But with our complete guide, you now know the basics of the Illinois road signs. And when you understand this, it will be a lot easier to spot and obey the road signs, signals, and markings. 

So whether this is for your permit test or to be the safest driver you can be, this will help you greatly, especially with our visual aids. 

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