Michigan Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

Michigan Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

Knowing what each road sign means makes it a lot easier for you to navigate the roads safely

On top of that, understanding the road signs is crucial to passing your permit test. 

Still, there are road signs that MUST be obeyed. If not, you will face annoying tickets. 

So whether you want to be a safe driver, avoid penalties, or need to pass the test with flying colors, it’s a good idea to study the Michigan road signs. 

We’re here to help. 

Today, we’re going to give you a complete guide to the Michigan traffic signs, pavement markings, and traffic signals. We’ll even include pictures to give you a visual aid. 

So are you ready?

Let’s dive right in!

Michigan Traffic Signs

Traffic signs, as the name suggests, are meant to manage traffic. They come in different shapes and colors, each one meaning something different. 

Let’s take a look at these. 

Traffic Sign Shapes in Michigan

Here is a table explaining the traffic sign shapes in Michigan:

OctagonMake a complete stop by the sign
TriangleYield to pedestrians, bicyclists, or the right of way
DiamondShows a hazard ahead / a warning sign
PentagonYou are entering a school zone
PennantNo passing zone/a warning sign
Horizontal RectangleIndicates a direction
Vertical RectangleIndicates a law in the area
RoundRailroad crossing ahead
CrossbuckRailroad crossing ahead

Traffic Sign Colors in Michigan

Similar to sign shapes, each traffic sign color has a meaning. 

Now, keep in mind that the same color will mean the same thing regardless of the shape.

For example, all red signs, regardless of shape, mean “stop” or “do not enter”. 

Here is a complete list of the colors you’ll see on Michigan signs:

Color:Visual Aid:Meaning:
RedTo stop or yield. Also, indicates a road you can’t enter
BlueIndicates services, usually hospitals or gas stations 
GreenGives directions or guides to areas nearby
YellowWarns of a potential hazard ahead
OrangeWarns of construction or maintenance work ahead
BlackIndicates regulations or laws
WhiteIndicates regulations or laws
BrownIndicates a recreational or cultural location
Fluorescent yellow-greenIndicates school, pedestrian, or bicycle caution
Fluorescent pinkIndicates an incident or unplanned event ahead

Route Markers in Michigan 

As you’ll notice, route markers have different shapes. These are there to indicate a location. 

Now, to identify the location based on the route number, consult a map. 

Interstate freeway sign
US highway sign
State Maintenance Sign
County route marker

Regulatory Signs in Michigan

Regulatory signs tell you of prohibitions or specific laws in the area. Examples are speed limits, do not enter, or no-turning when the traffic light is red. 

The law or command will be indicated on the sign. Here are some examples: 

Michigan Road Signs

Other Traffic Signs in Michigan 

Traffic signs are a mix of warning signs, prohibitions, regulations, and even directions. 

Let’s look at the most common traffic signs in Michigan. 

Incident AheadAn emergency or unplanned event is ahead
Gas PumpIndicates the location of a gas station ahead
ExitIndicates an exit to a freeway
Bridge Ices Before RoadThe bridge ahead can be icy
One wayThe traffic flow follows the direction of the sign
Speed LimitIndicates the speed limit in the area
National ForestThere is a national park ahead
School Children PresentSchool children are in the area. Be alert for children that might cross the road. 
Directional SignsInforms you of the direction to take based on the names of the signs
Wheelchair SymbolServices and accommodations for people with disabilities are available
State Route MarkerIndicates the state highway
Parking PermittedThe area is allowed for parking. The parking hours are indicated on the sign.
Stop SignMake a complete stop by the sign. Check if the road is safe before continuing. 
YieldSlow down and yield the right of way. 
No Turn On RedDo not make a turn when the traffic light is red
No Right TurnTaking a right turn is not allowed
No U-TurnU-turns are not allowed
Right Turn LanesYou must make a right turn on the indicated lanes
Center Lane Left Turn OnlyYou can only use the center lane when turning left
Do Not PassYou cannot pass
Pass With CareOften found near a ‘Do Not Pass’ sign. Pass only when it is safe to do so.
Median AheadThere is a divided roadway ahead
Do Not EnterYou cannot enter the road/areas ahead
Authorized Vehicles OnlyOnly authorized vehicles (law enforcement, emergency, maintenance vehicles) are allowed to pass
Wrong WayYou have entered a road where you are opposite the direction of traffic. Leave the road right away. 
No Trucks AllowedTrucks are not allowed
RR CrossbuckA railroad crossing with two tracks is ahead
Rest AreaIndicates accommodations or restrooms ahead
School CrossingYou are at a school crossing zone. Slow down and obey the directions of a school guard. 
Slow-Moving VehicleThis sign is placed on a slow-moving vehicle (which cannot move faster than 25 mph).
Sharp Turn AheadThe road turns sharply to the right
Road Curves AheadThe road ahead is curvy
Sharp Curve AheadThere is a sharp curve ahead, limit your speed to 35 mph
Railroad CrossingRailroad crossing ahead
Watch for BicyclistsBicyclists ahead, take caution
Watch for PedestriansPedestrians ahead, take caution
Obstacle in RoadwayThere is an obstruction ahead
Maximum Height AllowedThe maximum height of vehicles entering the road is indicated on the sign
Exit Speed LimitThe speed limit as you exit the highway is indicated
No Passing ZoneYou are not allowed to pass
Intersection AheadIntersection ahead, watch for traffic
Side Road AheadA side road is found ahead, which will intersect your lane 
Roundabout AheadA roundabout is nearby
Road Work AheadThere is a construction or maintenance zone ahead
Stop AheadThere is a stop sign ahead, prepare to stop
Yield AheadThere is a yield sign ahead, prepare to yield the right of way
Merging TrafficTraffic will merge from the right
Lane Ends Merge LeftThe right lane is merging, so prepare to merge to the left
Divided Highway EndsThe divided highway is ending, there will be two lanes of traffic ahead
Two-Way TrafficTwo-way traffic is beginning, keep right
HillThere is a steep hill ahead. Drive carefully and make sure that your brakes are working.
Slippery When WetRoads can be slippery during rain or snow, drive carefully
Merge LeftRight lane is ending, merge left
Bicyclists and PedestriansA bicycle or pedestrian crossing is ahead, slow down and drive carefully

Michigan Pavement Markings

Other than these road signs, there are pavement markings that help navigate the flow of traffic. 

Let’s take a look at these in the table below.  

White lines – separate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
Broken white lines – allows passing.

Solid white lines – marks the edge of the road. You are not allowed to cross these lines when passing. These lines in the center of the one-way traffic mean that passing is not recommended. 

Double solid white lines – separate lanes traveling in the same direction, but passing over the lines is not allowed.
Crosswalk lines – mark pedestrian crosswalks, usually found at intersections
Stop lines – indicate where you should stop before a crosswalk.
Directional arrows – indicate the direction of traffic permitted in the lane. Arrows with a straight and right arrow in one indicate that you can either go straight or turn right. 
Right turn arrows indicate that you should turn right when the road is clear.
Bicycle lane – lanes exclusively for bicyclists. Vehicles are not allowed to pass this lane.
Sharrows – indicate shared lanes between vehicles and bicyclists. Be courteous of bicyclists and take extra care in passing or turning.
Yellow lines – separate lanes with traffic moving in opposite directions.
Broken yellow lines – marks the center of a two-way road where traffic moves in opposite directions. Passing is allowed. 

Solid yellow lines – indicates where you cannot pass. 

Left turn only center lane – the center lane is designated for left turns only.
Indirect left turns – allows you to make an unconventional left. You can either make a right turn then U-turn to turn left OR go straight to the intersection and then turn left. 
Yield lines – indicate where you should stop to yield to pedestrians or traffic
Dashed lines – indicate areas where you should slow down to yield in a roundabout

Michigan Traffic Signals

As a driver, traffic signals are very basic. You see them all the time. 

That said, it’s still important to go over them. So let’s do that now. 

Red light – stop before the intersection
Yellow light – signal is about to turn red. Start slowing down.
Green light – proceed with caution after pedestrians and other vehicles clear the way.
5-section-head signal OR the “doghouse signals” – shows when you can turn right or left. 
When the arrow or light is green, proceed with caution. 
When the light is yellow, come to a stop if you haven’t entered the intersection yet. 
When the light is red, make a full stop and do not pass until the green lights are on. 

Flashing red light – make a full stop. You can only proceed when the road is clear. 

Flashing yellow light – proceed carefully through the intersection. Pass only when the roads are clear. 

Steady green arrow – you may proceed and turn
Solid red arrow – all turning vehicles should make a stop
Solid yellow arrow – the turn signal is about to go red. If you are approaching the intersection, prepare to stop. 
Flashing yellow arrow – you are allowed to turn if the oncoming traffic is clear
Solid green arrow – oncoming traffic is stopped so you are allowed to turn

Did you know that there are pedestrian signals, too? Let’s look at them. 

White walking person/walk /hand with a countdown – you are allowed to cross. The hand with a countdown tells you how much time you have left to cross the road. 
Hand sign / ‘Don’t Walk’ – you are not allowed to cross.
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon – alerts drivers of pedestrians ahead. 
The signal remains dark when there are no pedestrians.
Flashing yellow light – indicates the presence of pedestrians. 
Solid yellow light – make a stop unless you can safely continue. 
Solid red light – make a stop to let pedestrians cross. 
Alternate red signals – make a stop or yield if pedestrians are crossing


And we’re done! 

We covered the Michigan road signs, pavement markings, and traffic signals — all in one. 

Sure, you don’t have to memorize every single one. However, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the shapes and colors. This way, you have an idea of what type of sign you are running into. 

As for the pavement markings and traffic signals, it’s pretty easy to memorize them. 

Happy day!

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