Road safety is everyone’s business.
And that isn’t just about knowing how to operate your vehicle. It also includes understanding and obeying the various road signs along Missouri roadways.
This is why, here, we’re going to give you a complete guide on the Missouri road signs.
Remember, these signs come in different forms — some are pavement markings, others are light signals, and still, others are actual signs.
We’ll look at all of these.
So let’s get started!
Missouri Pavement Markings
Pavement markings play a crucial role in managing driver behavior. They tell you the following things:
- Where lanes are separated
- Whether or not you can pass other vehicles or switch lanes
- Where pedestrians can cross
- Where you must stop
Let’s take a close look at these.
On Traffic Direction
Lines do more than tell you where lanes are divided. They also let you know whether you should expect oncoming traffic or not.
A white line on your left means traffic flows in the same direction. A yellow line indicates you’re traveling on a two-way street.
Pay attention to the center marking if you’re on a highway with four lanes. Two solid yellow lines mean vehicles on the other side are going in the opposite direction. Remember, you cannot cross these lines to pass another car.
A solid yellow line marks No-Passing Zones. If you need to overtake the vehicle in front of you, ensure you do it before entering the No Passing Zone or wait until you’ve gone past it.
On a two-way street, don’t attempt to pass other vehicles if there is a solid yellow line on your side. However, even if there is no marking, avoid passing if you don’t have a clear distance ahead to complete it.
Sometimes, you’ll see a mark on a lane indicating which direction you can go.
For some lanes, the arrow only points in one direction (either left or right).
Other times, you’ll encounter dual-use lanes. These have markings that allow you to proceed in more than one direction. Show in the picture below, this lane marking means you can either go straight or turn left.
On Crosswalks and Stop Lines
Crosswalks indicate where pedestrians can cross the road. You must slow down before one and yield the right-of-way to people who are in or about to enter it.
However, not all crosswalks are marked, so you must still watch out for pedestrians at an intersection.
When a traffic signal turns red, you must stop before a stop line or a crosswalk, whichever is present.
Missouri Traffic Signals
Besides pavement markings, you must also heed traffic signals. These come in different forms — sometimes, you’ll encounter a steady light, and other times it’ll be flashing.
You may also see arrows in various colors. You should know what each of these means, so let’s break it down.
|Steady Red Light
|You must stop before a stop line, crosswalk, or intersection when you see a red signal.
However, if turning right, you can do so after yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians unless there is a No Right Turn on Red sign.
|Steady Yellow Light
|This is a transitory sign indicating the light is about to change from green to red. It’s best to stop at a yellow signal before you enter an intersection. However, if you’re already in it, proceed to the other side with caution.
You can proceed through the intersection after yielding the right-of-way to traffic and crossing pedestrians.
|Steady Red Arrow
|This acts like a steady red signal — you must stop before a stop line, crosswalk, or intersection. You can complete your turn once the light changes.
|Steady Yellow Arrow
|It appears after a green arrow, indicating that it’ll change to either of the following:
A circular green light
A flashing yellow arrow
A red arrow
Be ready to stop and yield the right of way.
|This indicates that you can proceed in the direction the arrow is pointing to once the way is clear of pedestrians and traffic.
When turning left, remember that there are three phases:
Permissive: You must wait and find a gap in the oncoming traffic before turning.
Protected: You can only turn left on a green light, and the opposing traffic stops at a red one.
Protected/Permissive: You have either a protected or permissive phase, and you must wait and find an appropriate gap in the oncoming traffic so you can complete your turn.
When you see flashing traffic signals, keep the following in mind:
- A flashing red light, a steady one, and a stop sign all have the same meaning — stop.
- A flashing yellow light means you can proceed with caution but must reduce your speed.
- A flashing yellow arrow allows you to proceed in the direction it’s pointing after waiting for an adequate gap in the oncoming traffic to complete it.
Dark Traffic Signals
A traffic signal that doesn’t show any lights or arrows isn’t working. As a result, you must treat it like a four-way stop.
Missouri Traffic Signs
So we’ve covered pavement markings and traffic signals. Now, let’s move on to the actual traffic signs.
There are 4 types of traffic signs in Missouri. These are:
- Warning signs
- Regulatory signs
- Work zone signs
- Guide signs
But before we go through the different types, let’s first look at the sign colors and shapes.
Traffic signs in Missouri come in various colors, which correspond to the type of information they provide.
For stop, yield, and prohibit signs
Black and White
School zone signs
Provides information about distance and direction
Public recreation and cultural interests
Like colors, the shapes of traffic signs indicate their use.
Guide signs for parks and recreation
Crossbuck and Round
No Passing Zone
There are hazards on the road, and if you’re unprepared for them, you’re likely to get into an accident. Fortunately, there are warning signs along the way, allowing you to prepare.
Let’s look at the warning signs in Missouri.
Traffic Control Warnings
Expect a stop sign ahead.
Expect a traffic signal ahead
Don’t forget to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who might be crossing the intersection or crosswalk
Be wary of children crossing the street. Reduce your speed.
Traffic Flow Warnings
Special Road and Traffic Warnings
Begin Divided Roadway
End Divided Roadway
Lane Ends/Merge Left
Turn and Curve Warnings
Indicates a sharp change in travel direction
Emphasizes the need to reduce speed
Special Road and Traffic Conditions
Bicycle — Share the Road
The vehicle in front of you is traveling at less than 25 mph
Slippery When Wet
Road Intersection Warnings
Side Road Railroad Crossing
Expect a railway crossing near the intersection
Watch out for traffic crossing your path
Side Road Ahead
T Intersection Ahead
Prepare to turn left or right
Some signs focus on what you can and can’t do in an area. These are regulatory signs.
Here are some examples:
No Left Turn
No Right Turn
Work Zone Signs
If there’s construction in your area, you might notice many orange-colored signs. There are different hazards and obstacles in a work site, so pay special attention to them.
It’s best to stay alert and focus on the road regardless of which type of sign you encounter. Lanes tend to be narrower, and more people mill around, such as highway workers.
Watch out for vehicles coming in and out of the work area, but most importantly, obey the work zone signs posted.
You’ll recognize guide signs by their stand-out color — they’re either blue, green, or brown with white letters.
You can categorize guide signs into three.
Service signs are usually blue. As its name implies, they provide information on how you can find a service facility, such as a phone booth or a hospital.
Route signs come in different shapes and colors. However, they all provide information about roadway types:
- Odd numbers refer to north-south routes
- Even numbers refer to east-west routes
- Three-digit even numbers represent interstate highways that loop around cities.
- Three-digit odd numbers are roadways that direct traffic into the city’s road system.
Route signs can be lifesavers during a road trip. Following them can prevent you from getting lost.
Emergency reference markers tell you where you are along a roadway. They’re mile markers that appear every two-tenths of a mile.
You can use them to pinpoint your location to help you navigate your route. They also come in handy during an emergency, especially if you need someone to find you.
The Wrap Up
We covered them all — from pavement markings to traffic signals to warning, regulatory, work zone, and guide signs.
And now that you know what each one means, it’s your responsibility to look out for them and obey them.
Remember, all these Missouri road signs have a purpose. And following them can help keep you and everyone else safe.