North Carolina Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

North Carolina Road Signs

Are you preparing for the North Carolina permit test?

Or maybe you’re just looking to brush up on your knowledge of the state’s road signs.

Either way, understanding what the different signs mean and obeying them is an essential part of safe driving. 

This is why, today, we’re going to give you a complete rundown of the North Carolina road signs. More than that, we’ll also look at the traffic signals and pavement markings. 

This way, you’ll know all you need to know. 

So let’s get started!

North Carolina Traffic Signals

Let’s start with the most basic — traffic signals. 

As you probably know, traffic signals inform drivers when they should stop, go, and yield.

North Carolina Road Signs

These signals consist of three colors: red, yellow, and green. Red means “stop”; yellow means “prepare to stop”; and green means “proceed with caution.” 

But besides these, there are also arrow signals, flashing signals, quick-changing signals, and pedestrian signals. Let’s see what these mean.

Arrow Signals

Arrow signals are the same as steady traffic signals. However, it only applies to the direction the arrow is pointing to. 

North Carolina Road Signs

A green arrow means that drivers have “protected movement” and may turn in the direction of the arrow.

A red arrow means turning traffic must come to a full stop. 

Meanwhile, a yellow arrow means the red arrow is about to come on. So you must slow down. But if you are already turning, you can proceed.

Flashing Signals

Flashing traffic signals are a common sight on North Carolina roads. 

North Carolina Road Signs

If you see a yellow flashing signal, you need to slow down and proceed with caution.

A flashing yellow arrow means turning traffic must first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before proceeding. 

On the other hand, flashing red signals indicate drivers must first stop, look around, then enter the intersection if it is safe to do so. These drivers no longer need to wait for a green light.

Ramp Meter Signals 

Ramp meter signals manage the flow of vehicles entering highways from on-ramps. 

North Carolina Road Signs

These signals consist of several vertical lights that quickly turn green or red, allowing only one vehicle to proceed onto the highway at a time. 

This helps prevent congestion and allows for safer merging onto highways. 

Hybrid Beacons

North Carolina implements hybrid beacons. These are signals to keep pedestrians safe when crossing. 

Now, these beacons consist of two red lenses above a single yellow lens. 

North Carolina Road Signs

When pedestrians press a button to activate the beacon, it initiates a lighting sequence. Flashing or steady yellow lights warn motorists to slow down as a pedestrian is about to cross. 

A steady red light tells motorists to stop as pedestrians are already crossing. 

A flashing red light means that the hybrid beacon is about to turn off and allow motorists to continue. Pedestrians should hurry across. 

North Carolina Traffic Signs

When it comes to North Carolina traffic signs, there are several categories. These are:

  • Regulatory signs
  • Warning signs
  • Guide signs
  • Work zone signs
  • Railroad signs

Let’s look at each one. 

Regulatory Signs

Regulatory signs inform drivers of laws they must obey while on North Carolina roadways. 

These signs can include stop or yield signs, no turning signs, speed limits, parking regulations, and other restrictions. 

Here are some examples of regulatory signs in North Carolina: 

North Carolina Road Signs
North Carolina Road Signs

You can spot regulatory signs as these are usually rectangular with a white background and black or red symbols. Of course, as seen above, there are exceptions to this. 

It’s important to follow the instructions on these signs to avoid fines and other penalties.

Warning Signs

Warning signs are there to alert drivers about potential hazards or changes in the roadway ahead.

These signs may indicate a stop light ahead, sharp curves, steep grades, reduced visibility, animal crossing, and more. 

Here are some examples of warning signs in North Carolina:

North Carolina Road Signs
North Carolina Road Signs
North Carolina Road Signs

To catch your attention, warning signs are diamond-shaped and bright yellow with black symbols. 

It’s important to pay attention to these signs so you can anticipate changes in the road ahead and adjust your driving accordingly.

Guide Signs

Guide signs help drivers navigate their way through North Carolina.

These provide information on destinations, distances, directions, and other important roadway features. 

Here are some examples of guide signs in North Carolina:

North Carolina Road Signs
North Carolina Road Signs
Guide signs,

Guide signs can be further divided into highway markers, distance markers, service signs, street name plates, directional arrows, and turn prohibition signs.

  • Route Markers – US route markers indicate the route number for a particular highway. They are typically shaped like a shield with black letters and numbers.
  • Distance Markers – distance markers provide information regarding distances to major cities or landmarks. It also lets drivers know how far they are from their destination. These signs are usually yellow with black numbers.
  • Service Signs – these signs tell you about nearby services, such as gas stations, hospitals, lodgings, diners, and more. It is usually square and blue with white symbols. 
  • Directional Arrows – directional arrows help drivers determine which way to turn when approaching an intersection. They feature an arrow pointing in a specific direction and are typically white on green. 
  • Turn Prohibition Signs – turn prohibition signs provide drivers with information about which turns are prohibited at an intersection. These signs feature a red circle with a slash through it, indicating that the turn is not allowed. 

Work Zone Signs

Work zone signs are similar to warning signs – only this time it warns of construction or maintenance areas. 

Here are some examples of work zones in North Carolina:

Work zone signs

These signs are typically orange with black lettering. Sometimes, it features different symbols that provide drivers with information about the work zone, such as:

  • the type of work being done
  • detour routes
  • reduced speed limits
  • closed roads
  • and more

Traffic cones, barricades, drums, and flaggers may also indicate an active work zone. So, keep a close eye out for these things when driving in unknown territory — especially at night.

Railroad Signs

Railroad signs keep drivers and pedestrians safe around railway crossings.

Here is an example of a railroad sign in North Carolina:

Rail Road Crossing
Rail Road Sign

These signs come in different shapes and sizes and feature various icons that provide information about the railroad tracks ahead. 

For example, a white “X” sign or crossbuck sign indicates that drivers must stop before proceeding across the tracks. 

Other signs may inform drivers of the number of tracks in the area or any special speed restrictions that apply.

North Carolina Pavement Markings

Finally, there are the pavement markings — which are signs painted onto the road. 

Pavement markings inform drivers of the various lanes on the road and indicate where they should and should not pass. 

These markings can include a variety of symbols, such as arrows, lines, and dots, that all have specific meanings. 

The most common North Carolina pavement marking is the solid white line. This separates the lanes on the road. It also indicates that passing is not allowed.  

Solid white lane markings

If the lines are broken, this allows you to pass — but only if it is safe to do so. 

White lane markings

Meanwhile, double solid yellow lines indicate no passing zones. 

Solid double yellow lines

Finally, there are arrows and other markings that provide direction for turns or other maneuvers. 

North Carolina Road Signs


And that completes your guide to North Carolina road signs. 

Yes, there is a lot to remember. 

A good strategy is to always keep in mind the different colors and shapes. From there, you can determine what the sign is trying to tell you. 

Remember, following these signals, signs, and markings will help you be a safe and responsible driver…

And also help you avoid tickets. 

Drive safely!

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