All drivers know that a red traffic signal means stop and a green one means to go. But what about the arrows? And do flashing lights have a different meaning?
Most of us are also familiar with Stop and Yield signs — the most common ones we encounter. But did you know that there are a lot more road signs that fall under different categories?
Even sign colors and shapes have different meanings and can quickly become confusing.
This is why, here, we’re going to give you a complete guide to the Kentucky road signs. We’ll show you the meaning, as well as the pictures, of all the traffic signals and traffic signs in Kentucky.
With this, you’ll be able to ace the Kentucky permit exam, avoid getting ticketed, and be the safest driver you can be.
So shall we?
Kentucky Traffic Signals
When it comes to interpreting traffic signals, the three primary colors and their meanings are:
- RED means stop
- YELLOW means prepare to stop (no, it does not mean “go faster”)
- GREEN means go (if safe to do so)
These lights can either be steady or flashing. You may also encounter arrows instead of solid lights.
Let’s break these down to avoid confusion.
When you see the traffic signal turn RED, stop behind a crosswalk or stop line. You can’t proceed until it becomes green.
If you need to turn right, you are free to turn even at a red light, but always check first for oncoming traffic. That said, if a traffic signal indicates you can’t turn right while the light is red, don’t attempt it — that can result in a violation.
A YELLOW signal warns you that it’s about to turn red, so you should prepare to stop.
Crossing an intersection even after the light turns red is allowed IF you already entered it while the light was still yellow. Stopping in the middle of the street will be more harmful and counterproductive.
However, if the light turns red before you reach the intersection, you must stop behind the stop line or crosswalk.
Lastly, you can go on your way to a GREEN traffic signal. Even so, it’s best to make sure that it’s safe before proceeding.
Remember, you still have to yield the right-of-way if other vehicles and pedestrians are in the intersection.
You may encounter flashing lights in two colors — red and yellow.
|Flashing Yellow Light||You’ll typically find flashing yellow signs in intersections and construction areas. You may even see it on some vehicles, like tow trucks. |
Reduce your speed when you see it and watch out for other vehicles.
|Flashing Red Light||A flashing red sign has the same meaning as a steady one — you must come to a complete stop. However, you can continue driving once the way is clear. Yes, even if the light is still flashing red.|
|Two Flashing Red Lights||Two flashing red lights are a little different — you usually find these at a railroad crossing. A crossbuck sign, which carries the same meaning as a Yield sign, might accompany it. |
Like with all red signs, you must come to a complete stop. But, with this, you can only proceed once the lights are no longer flashing. And, as always, before continuing on your way, ensure that there is no approaching train.
Lighted arrows come in all colors. Here are their meanings:
|Green Arrows||A green arrow means you can proceed in the direction it points. |
For example, you can go straight if it points upward. If it’s to the left, you can turn in that direction.
|A yellow arrow indicates you can proceed in the direction it points. However, do so with caution.|
|A red arrow means continuing in the direction it points isn’t allowed. It’s best to wait for it to turn green before moving again.|
Sometimes, you’ll meet several traffic signals (especially if you’re traveling on a highway with multiple lanes). If so, remember to follow the one that’s over your lane.
Kentucky Traffic Signs
Now that we’ve covered traffic signals, let’s move on to traffic signs.
In Kentucky, there are two main classifications — regulatory and warning signs.
NOTE: Some signs don’t fall into either of the classes. These may include those that provide directions or point you to a service facility. Other signs are specifically for emergency vehicles.
To be sure, it can be a bit difficult to memorize every single sign you come across. This is why it’s a good idea to understand the sign shapes. This will help you determine what sign category it falls under.
Horizontal Rectangle Often used for guide signs (those that provide direction)
Upside Down Equilateral Triangle Only used for Yield signs
Vertical Rectangle Usually used for regulatory signs(those that manage the traffic flow)
|Diamond Typically used for warning signs||Pentagon For signs on school advance or school warnings|
Round Serves as an advance warning of a railroad crossing
Regulatory signs reinforce traffic laws. Their primary purpose is to let drivers know what they can or cannot do in specific areas.
Common regulatory signs are stop signs, yield signs, and speed limit signs. However, there are a whole lot more.
Here are the regulatory signs in Kentucky:
You must make a full stop before proceeding
You must yield to vehicles and pedestrians before proceeding
Your speed should not exceed the stated limit
|No Left Turn|
No Right Turn
Bicycles cannot pass here
You can only turn left
|You can either go straight or turn left|
All vehicles on the left lane must turn left
Double left turns
Traffic is only moving in the direction the arrow is pointing
|Stay on the left side|
Stay on the right side
Walk on the left side, facing the flow of traffic (for pedestrians)
You cannot turn in either direction
|You cannot make a U-turn|
Keep off the median
You cannot proceed in this direction
|You cannot pass other vehicles|
|Passing is allowed but must be done with caution|
Stay on the right side of the road if you are driving slowly
You can only park in this space during emergencies
|Trucks must use the right lane|
|Parking is not allowed|
You must wait for the traffic signal to turn green before turning right
Indicates how long you can park in the space and during what times
|Marks a bus stop. Parking is not allowed|
Sometimes, you’ll encounter hazards on the road. Warning signs allow you to prepare for them early.
Knowing what you’re up against can keep you and your passengers safe. Here are the different warning signs you may see in Kentucky.
|Traffic Signal Ahead||Traffic Merges Ahead|
Lane Ends Ahead
Entering a Divided Highway
|Cattle Crossing||Traffic Passes on Both Sides|
Passing Other Vehicles is Prohibited
|School or School Crossing Ahead|
Road Turns Right
Road Curves Right
Reverse Turn Ahead
|Reverse Curve Ahead||Winding Road Ahead|
Approaching a downhill
|Road is Slippery When Wet||Bicycle Crossing|
Divided Highway Ends Ahead
Stop Sign Ahead
|Yield Sign Ahead||Pavement Ends, Expect Gravel|
Soft Shoulder Ahead
Narrow Bridge Ahead, Proceed with Caution
“T” Intersection Ahead
Expect to Share the Road with Farm Machinery
|Divided Highway Ends|
As we mentioned, some signs don’t fall in either category, but it doesn’t mean they’re less crucial.
Here are some additional signs that you’ll come across on the Kentucky roadways.
Let drivers and pedestrians know that you’ll have to pay a $500 fine if you litter in the area.
Directional signs, as the name implies, tell you what route to take to reach a specific destination. These include parking lots, bike routes, and exits.
Service signs point you towards service facilities, such as hospitals, picnic areas, or phone booths.
The Wrap Up
And that was your complete guide to the Kentucky road signs.
Traffic signs and signals play an integral role in keeping Kentucky’s roadways safe. Part of our responsibility as drivers is to ensure we know what they mean. Not only that but to follow them accordingly.
Remember, these signs and signals are there for a reason — to keep you safe.
So be a responsible and safe driver!