Are you still working towards your Minnesota driver’s license?
If so, then you will need to pass the knowledge exam — and there are several questions concerning road signs.
Are you trying to avoid getting tickets?
Then it’s important to obey the road signs, signals, and markings.
Do you want to be the safest driver out there?
Again, it’s crucial to know the Minnesota road signs.
This is why, today, we’ve compiled a complete guide to Minnesota road signs, road signals, and pavement markings.
We’ll give you all the details, including the sign name, the meaning behind it, and a visual aid.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
Minnesota Traffic Signs
Everywhere you look, you will spot a traffic sign here and there.
And as a responsible driver, you should know and obey these signs.
But there are a lot…
Well, to help you out, let’s look in detail at the 7 types of traffic signs in Minnesota.
- Regulatory signs
- Warning signs
- Construction signs
- Historic, cultural, and recreational signs
- Service signs
- Guidance and information signs
- Route signs
But before we dive into that, let’s take a quick look at the sign colors and shapes.
Traffic Sign Colors in Minnesota
One thing to remember in Minnesota is that the color of the traffic sign gives you an idea of what type it is.
For example, regulatory signs come in two colors:
- RED ones typically stop you from doing something
- WHITE ones specify what you can or can’t do on the road
Let’s look at the other colors you might come across.
Warning signs come in three colors, all of which call your attention:
- YELLOW signs give warnings, like expect the road to begin winding or whether or not passing is allowed.
- YELLOW-GREEN signs also give warnings, but only at crossings (pedestrian and bicycle) and school zones.
- ORANGE signs, like yellow-green ones, provide warnings in construction zones.
Even signs that provide information to drivers come in various colors. Here are the ones you’ll see:
- GREEN is the most common color for informational signs. You’ll usually see this in router markers or exits.
- BLUE signs point to service facilities, such as gas stations, hospitals, or rest areas.
- Historical markers are BROWN. Other same-colored signs direct you toward cultural or recreational sites.
So if you can’t memorize every single traffic sign, at least know what the colors mean.
Traffic Sign Shapes in Minnesota
Besides the signs’ colors, you’ll also see various shapes — not everything is rectangular!
Here are the other shapes you’ll see:
Regulatory Signs in Minnesota
Okay, let’s move on to the actual traffic signs in Minnesota.
First up, we have the regulatory signs.
These support the traffic laws in Minnesota, so following them ensures that you’re keeping roads safe. Also, if you don’t, you may receive citations from law enforcement officers.
Most regulatory signs are white, such as speed limits or lane restrictions. However, you may notice that some are red, particularly those that stop you from doing something.
Here are the regulatory signs in Minnesota:
Stop: Encountering a stop sign means you must stop at an intersection. You can proceed once pedestrians and vehicles that have the right-of-way have cleared it.
Yield: It means giving the right of way to pedestrians or vehicles. You must slow down (or stop) when you see the sign. Once it’s safe to proceed, you may continue on your way.
Do Not Enter: You cannot proceed in your direction if this sign is facing you.
Wrong Way: Indicates that you are traveling in the wrong direction. You may encounter oncoming traffic if you continue.
No Left Turn / No Right Turn / No U-Turn / No Parking: These indicate that you cannot do the activities on the sign.
Speed Limit: Indicates the maximum allowable speed in an area. Note that sometimes, it also shows a minimum speed limit. It means that going below it may impede traffic flow.
Do Not Pass: Passing other vehicles is no longer allowed after this.
Keep Right: Expect a median, island, or other obstructions ahead. Ensure you stay to its right.
Roundabout: Indicates that a roundabout is ahead and shows the different lanes you can use to turn.
Lane-Use: This tells you which directions you can take from a specific lane. Sometimes you must turn. Other times, you have the option of turning or going straight.
No Turn on Red: You cannot turn at an intersection if the traffic signal is red.
Center Lane Ahead: Expect to encounter a center lane ahead. Remember that vehicles from both directions share this lane as it’s where they make left turns.
|Reduced Speed Ahead: You’re entering an area with a lower speed limit. Slowing down earlier makes the transition easier.||Restricted Lane: This indicates only specific vehicles can use the lanes. Examples include buses, bicycles, and commercial vehicles.|
Handicapped Parking: These are slots reserved for vehicles with disability license plates or a disability parking permit. If you have either of these but can’t find an available parking spot, you can park at an angle or use two standard slots.
Warning Signs in Minnesota
As the name implies, warning signs make you aware of possible hazards on the road. It pays to heed these because they may prevent an accident.
Here are common warning signs in Minnesota.
|Railroad Crossings: This is a crossbuck sign near most railroad crossings. When you see one, stop and look in both directions to determine whether or not there’s an oncoming train. You’ll typically find flashing lights and pavement markings with it. A number underneath it corresponds to the number of tracks.|
|Railroad Crossing Exempt: This means drivers who usually need to stop at railroad crossings don’t need to anymore. However, you must still check both directions to see if a train is coming.|
|Railroad Crossing Ahead: This tells you that you’ll soon come across a railroad cross and should prepare to stop.|
|School Zone: Watch out for children crossing because you’re entering a school area, and there’s a school-approved crosswalk ahead.|
|School Crossing: The standard sign has an arrow underneath it. You must yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians crossing, so be prepared to stop. This is especially true if children are in the crosswalk.|
|Pedestrian Crossing: Like the school crossing sign, the standard has an arrow underneath it. Pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks have the right of way, so you must stop and wait until they’ve reached the other side.|
|No Passing Zone: You’ll usually find this sign on the left side of a two-way highway. It means you can no longer pass other vehicles after.|
|Slow-Moving Vehicle Emblem: Informs other drivers that a vehicle travels at 30 mph or slower. Examples of these are farm equipment or animal-drawn vehicles. You’ll have to adjust how fast you’re going or shift to a different lane when sharing the road with them.|
|Animal-Drawn Vehicle: Expect to share the road with animal-drawn vehicles, which are a lot slower. These must have a light or a lamp that keeps them visible from 500 feet away at night or during weather conditions with low visibility. Prepare to slow down and pass them slowly.|
Intersection Warning Signs
While some warning signs are along roads and highways, you can find others at intersections.
Here’s a list of them:
|Crossroad. There is an intersection ahead. Prepare to yield.|
Side Road. Vehicles come from your right — watch out when they merge with traffic.
T-Intersection. The road you are on will end. You will either have to turn left or right.
Y-Intersection. The road you’re on splits into two directions. Prepare to turn left or watch out for cars joining your lane.
|Curve. Prepare for the road to curve. Adjust to the indicated limit (if shown).||Roundabout. Slow down to the allowable limit as you prepare to enter the roundabout.|
Winding Road Ahead. The road you’re on winds left and right. It’s best to slow down.
Two-Way Traffic Ahead. You’re moving from a one-way street to one where traffic goes in both directions. Remain on the right side.
|Divided Highway Begins. The highway is about to divide into two.||Divided Highway Ends. The divided highway is about to end.|
Traffic Signal Ahead. There is a traffic signal up ahead.
The Road Turns Ahead. The road’s direction might change abruptly. Slow down and prepare to turn.
|Crossing Signs. Watch out for pedestrians, animals, or other vehicles crossing the road.||Slippery Road. You may have difficulty controlling your car if the surface is wet. Proceed with caution.|
Steep Hill. Expect a sharp decline ahead — ensure your brakes are working.
Lane Ends. This sign indicates that two lanes merge into one.
|Merging Traffic. Traffic merges into the road you’re on.|
Added Lane. The number of traffic lanes increases ahead. Merging is not required.
Low Clearance Ahead. The sign indicates the maximum height. You may have to find a different route if your vehicle exceeds it.
Narrow Bridge. You are approaching a bridge narrower than the road you’re on.
Construction Signs in Minnesota
There are road signs you can only find in areas where construction is ongoing. These are typically orange and may be posted or held by workers within the construction zone.
Person with flag ahead. Prepare to follow whatever the person is telling you.
Roadway maintenance is being done. Slow and prepare to stop as you approach the road maintenance.
Allowable speed limit in a construction zone. Violating this results in a fine of $300.
Historic, Cultural, and Recreational Signs in Minnesota
If you encounter brown traffic signs, these typically direct you to historical sites or state parks. These also give you directions to recreational areas and points of interest.
Service Signs in Minnesota
If you’re looking for the nearest phone booth or hospital, keep an eye out for a blue traffic sign.
These are service signs, and they lead to service facilities in Minnesota. Besides those mentioned above, these include gas stations, food stops, and rest areas.
Guidance and Information Signs in Minnesota
Guide signs provide information about the following:
- Distance to different cities
- Exits to take
- Locations of intersection interchanges
- Location of bicycle routes
- Mile markers
Route Signs in Minnesota
The last of Minnesota’s traffic signs are route signs. They provide information on various types of roadways.
Here are some examples:
Minnesota Traffic Signals
Besides traffic signs, you also need to consider traffic signals. These signals are usually placed in intersections where high-volume traffic occurs.
Traffic signals may be lights or arrows, flashing or steady, but they are always one of three colors — red, yellow, or green.
Let’s see what each of these means.
|Steady Red Light|
As we all know, a red light means stop. You’ll have to stay behind the crosswalk at an intersection until the light changes.
Usually, you can turn right if the intersection is clear and it’s safe. However, in some areas, you’ll find a No Turn on Red Signal, which means you’ll still have to wait for the light to change.
In some situations, you can turn left at an intersection even if the light is red if traffic in that direction is allowed. However, pedestrians and other vehicles have the right of way. You can only proceed once the crosswalk is clear.
|Steady Red Arrow|
A red arrow means you have to come to a complete stop behind a crosswalk or a stop line. Remember to wait for it to turn green before proceeding in the direction it points.
|Flashing Red Light or Arrow|
Whether it’s a light or an arrow, treat it as you would a steady one — you must make a complete stop. However, you can proceed once it is safe to do so. Don’t forget to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles or pedestrians in the crosswalk.
|Steady Yellow Light|
A yellow light means you must prepare to stop because the light is about to turn red. If you see it before you enter the intersection, it’s best to stop. However, if you can’t stop safely, proceed with caution.
Don’t back up if you’re in the middle of making a turn when a yellow light turns red. Complete it as soon as it’s safe to do so.
|Flashing Yellow Light|
You can proceed through an intersection if you see a flashing yellow light but must do so with caution. If any vehicles or pedestrians are already in the crosswalk, you must yield the right of way to them.
A green light means you can enter the intersection. However, you still have to yield the right-of-way to vehicles or pedestrians already in the crosswalk.
|Green ArrowYou can turn in the direction the arrow points.|
Pedestrian Signals in Minnesota
In Minnesota, traffic signals aren’t just for drivers. There are signals for pedestrians, too.
Take a look at these:
Pedestrians can cross the street if it’s safe. Once they enter the intersection, they can continue to the other side. Remember, pedestrians have the right of way.
|Flashing Don’t Walk Signal|
Stay on your side of the street if you see a flashing don’t walk signal before you step on the crosswalk.
However, you can continue crossing if the sign begins flashing when you’ve started walking to the other side.
|Don’t Walk Signal|
A steady don’t walk signal means pedestrians can’t cross the intersection.
Minnesota Pavement Markings
Lastly, let’s look at the various pavement markings you may see on Minnesota roadways.
Lane markings tell you what kind of movement you can make. There are two main types — yellow and white lines.
You’ll find white lines separating lanes wherein the traffic is going in the same direction.
There are different types of white lines, and each has a different meaning. Here’s a quick guide:
- A solid white line discourages you from changing lanes. You’ll also see it on stop lines, crosswalks, and road edges.
- White dashes mean you are free to switch lanes.
- Shorter, thicker white dashes indicate that your lane is about to end.
- Double white lines mean you cannot change lanes.
- A solid white line with a bicycle symbol means only bikes can use that lane.
Similarly, various types of yellow lines can mean different things. However, unlike white lines that separate traffic traveling in the same direction, yellow ones are for traffic that flows in opposite ways.
- Yellow dashes allow you to pass.
- A solid yellow line means you cannot pass other vehicles.
- If yellow dashes and a solid yellow line run side by side, follow the one in your lane.
- Two solid yellow lines beside each other mean passing is not allowed in both directions.
Here are four examples of how various turn lanes markings work together:
|Traffic is moving in two directions. The yellow dashes between them indicate that vehicles in both directions can pass.|
Traffic is moving in two directions. Vehicles in the lane where there are yellow dashes may cross. Those in the lane with a solid yellow line cannot.
|Traffic is moving in two directions, separated by two solid yellow lines. Passing in both directions is prohibited.|
This is a roadway with four lanes. Vehicles traveling in each direction can switch lanes because of the white dashes. However, they cannot cross in the other direction because of the two solid yellow lines.
Turn lanes are white arrows painted on a lane, often with the word “only”. The direction the arrow points is where you must go if you’re in that lane.
Sometimes a lane may have multiple arrows, indicating that you can go left, right, or forward.
Center Turn Lanes
These are areas between traffic traveling in opposite directions marked by parallel solid yellow lines with yellow dashes between them. You may also see white lines indicating areas vehicles can use to turn left into a driveway or a different roadway.
These are marked by dashed double yellow lines and help keep traffic manageable during rush hour. Vehicles can only use these lanes if the signal above it shows a green arrow.
A lane with a diamond symbol is for vehicles with two or more occupants. A combination of yellow and white lines marks it, with the words “carpool only.”
These are words painted on the street, usually warning drivers that they are entering specific road conditions. One example is “School Zone Ahead.”
The Wrap Up
There’s no denying it — when it comes to road signs, Minnesota has a lot!
Fortunately, you have this all-in-one guide to help you navigate them, down to the colors, shapes, traffic signs, traffic signals, and pavement markings.