Pennsylvania Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

Pennsylvania Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

So you’re looking for a guide on the Pennsylvania road signs?

We’ve got you covered. 

Here, we’ll dive into traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings

Once you’re familiar with these, you will become a better and safer driver. 

Not only that, but you can avoid those annoying tickets, too. 

Now, there’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started right away!

Pennsylvania Traffic Signals

Let’s start with something pretty basic. 

Traffic signals. 

Steady Red LightWhen the light turns red, you have to stop — and it must be before the stop line, crosswalk, or intersection.  

However, there are instances where you can continue moving even if the light is red: 

You can turn right on a red signal unless a sign says ‘No Turn on Red Signal’.

You can turn left (after making a complete stop) at a red light if you’re coming from a one-way street and going to another one-way street, and there is no sign prohibiting it.
Steady Yellow LightA steady yellow light is not supposed to mean go faster — it indicates that the light will turn red soon, and you should begin slowing down in preparation. 

However, if you’re already in the intersection when the light turns yellow, you should proceed carefully to the other side. 
Steady Green LightGreen means go – so you can travel in the direction you’re going if the road is clear. 

Don’t forget to yield the right of way to pedestrians in the crosswalk or vehicles already in the intersection.
Steady Red ArrowA red arrow has a similar meaning to a steady red signal. Only this time, you cannot continue in the direction the arrow is pointing.
Steady Yellow ArrowAgain, this is similar to a steady yellow light — but only applies to the direction of the arrow.  

It’s best to stop before you make the turn. However, proceed with caution if you’re already making the turn.
Steady Green LightA steady green arrow indicates turning in the direction its pointing is possible. Your turn is “protected” because a red light stops oncoming traffic. 

In some situations, a green arrow becomes a green light. You can still proceed but must yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles and pedestrians.

Flashing Signals

Traffic signals won’t display steady lights all the time. There will be instances when you’ll notice these lights flashing.

Well, here’s what that means:

Flashing Red LightConsider a flashing red light synonymous with a STOP sign. In short, you must come to a complete stop, look around, and only proceed if it is safe to do so. 
Flashing Yellow LightYou can continue forward if the light is flashing yellow. However, you have to be cautious of your surroundings since other vehicles will cross at the same time. 
Flashing Yellow ArrowYou may turn on a flashing yellow arrow. However, you’re not protected from oncoming traffic by a red light, so proceed carefully. 

You must also yield the right of way to pedestrians and vehicles.

Non-Functioning Traffic Lights

Sometimes a traffic signal will be dark at an intersection.

In these cases, you must treat it like a four-way STOP sign.

Ramp-Metering Signals

Highways can get congested — making it difficult to join the traffic flow from the entrance ramp. 

This is why there are ramp-metering signals.

These are to control the traffic flow onto the highway, and you’ll typically encounter them during peak hours. 

When you spot one, remember to wait for the light to turn green before entering the freeway.

Note that your entry isn’t protected, so use caution and ensure it’s safe to join the traffic flow before doing so.

Lane Use Control Signals 

Lane use controls are just that — they tell you how you can use different lanes. 

Here are the examples:

Steady Green LightIf you see this above the lane, it means you can use it. 
Steady Yellow XThe direction of traffic is about to change for this lane. You need to switch lanes as soon as possible. 
Steady Red XThis lane is for oncoming traffic. You cannot use it. 
One-way Left TurnYou can only turn left if you’re using this lane.
Two-way Left TurnStaying in this lane means you must turn left. However, you share it with vehicles from the other direction who are also turning left. 

You’ll usually see these signals on toll booths, bridges, tunnels, and multi-lane roads.

Pedestrian Signals

Not all traffic signals are for drivers. 

Here are the pedestrian signals that you should know about and obey:

Steady WALK or Walking Person
You may cross the street but watch out for vehicles turning into the road. They might not yield the right of way even if you’re on the crosswalk.

Flashing DON’T WALK or Raised Hand
Get to the other side as quickly as possible if you’ve already started crossing the street. However, if you haven’t begun, remain on your side of the road.

Steady DON’T WALK or Raised Hand
You cannot cross — stay on your side of the road. 

School Zone Signals

Pennsylvania Road Signs

When you enter a school zone, you might notice traffic signs with flashing yellow lights — these are school zone signals and typically indicate the allowable speed limit.

You must adhere to the speed limit when the yellow lights are flashing. It also applies to the hours indicated (if any).

Remember, you’ll get 3 points on your license if you exceed the allowable speed limit in a school zone.

Railroad Crossing Signals

Pennsylvania Road Signs

A railroad crossing sign with flashing red lights and the crossing gate lowered indicates that a train is approaching. 

When you encounter it, you must stop.

You can proceed when the lights turn off and the gate is lifted. But still, always drive with caution. 

Ensure that there is no sign of another train approaching.

Whether or not there are signs of an approaching train, you must never stop on the railroad tracks. Stay before them if the road is congested, and only move forward when there is enough space for you to clear them completely.

Pennsylvania Traffic Signs 

Okay, let’s move on to the actual signs. 

There are 7 types of traffic signs in Pennsylvania. These are:

  • Regulatory signs
  • Warning signs
  • Work wone signs
  • Guide signs
  • Route markers
  • Service signs
  • Directional signs

Let’s go over them one by one. 

Regulatory Signs  

Regulatory signs help enact traffic laws

You can spot them with their red and white, black and white, or red, black, and white color combination. 

Let’s look at some common regulatory signs you’ll encounter:

Stop SignThis is the only octagon-shaped traffic sign out there. 

With this, you must make a complete stop, look around, then proceed when safe. 

Slowing down without stopping may result in a traffic violation. 

If an “Except Right Turn” sign accompanies it, you can complete your turn without stopping at the intersection.
Four-Way StopAs the name implies, vehicles from all four directions must stop. The one that reaches the intersection first also proceeds first. 

If two vehicles reach the intersection simultaneously, the one on the left must yield the right of way to the driver on the right. 

If facing each other, both vehicles may proceed while watching out for other drivers in the intersection.
YieldYield signs look like inverted triangles. 

Encountering one requires you to reduce your speed. As its name implies, you must yield the right of way to pedestrians or vehicles from oncoming traffic.
Railroad CrossbuckThis sign tells you that a railroad crosses the road you’re using. Treat it as you would a Yield sign — reduce your speed and anticipate stopping if there’s an approaching train.

Here are other signs that fall under this category:


Warning Signs

You can easily spot warning signs by their shape and color. 

Most are diamond (although some are rectangular or pennant-shaped) and are distinctively yellow and black.

As you might guess, these signs warn you of potential hazards you will soon encounter. 

Here are the warning signs in Pennsylvania:

No Passing Zone Ahead
 Chevron Signs(sharp change in direction)Left Curve Sharp Left Curve 
Set of Curves 

Sharp Left and Right Turns 
Winding Road One Direction Road Entering Curve 
Truck Rollover Danger 
Advisory Speed Sign Merging Traffic Added Lane Divided Highway Begins
Two-Way Traffic Ahead

Lane Ends 

Right Lane Ends 
Lane Ends Merge LeftCross Road Ahead 
Side Road Ahead

T Intersection Ahead

Y Intersection Ahead 
Circular Intersection AheadTwo Direction Large Arrow 
Narrow Bridge or Underpass Ahead 
Slippery When Wet 
Deer Crossing 
Low Clearance Shoulder Sign 
Another Shoulder Sign 

Yet Another Shoulder Sign 

Hill / Downgrade 
Traffic Signal Ahead Bicycle Crossing Ahead 
Advanced Intersectional/Railroad Crossing 
Bicycle / Motor Vehicle Share the Road Pedestrian Crossing AheadSchool Zone AheadHorse-Drawn Vehicle 
Right Curve 

Sharp Right Turn

Weave Area
Divided Highway EndsStop Sign Ahead
Railroad Crossing Ahead

Some warning signs come in the form of objects adjacent to a roadway. Drivers must act accordingly, depending on their placement.

Pennsylvania Road Signs
Pennsylvania Road Signs
Pennsylvania Road Signs

Work Zone Signs

You can find work zone signs on construction sites and areas with road maintenance work. 

These are similar to warning signs but are orange with black lettering.

Now, traffic conditions in work areas are different, and they present hazards that you may not encounter on regular roadways. 

Here are the work zone signs you can encounter:

Where work zone begins
Where work zone ends  
Workers Ahead 
Flagger Ahead
Traffic Must Stop and Wait
Traffic Must Move Slowly 
Move/Merge to the LeftCautionMove/Merge to the Right 

You may also see channeling devices in these areas. 

Although not actual signs, these help you navigate the changing traffic patterns and avoid potential work hazards.

Pennsylvania Road Signs

Guide Signs

Guide signs provide directions to several areas, whether cities, points of interest, or service facilities. 

They also come in different types: 

Highway or Express Guide Signs:

Pennsylvania Road Signs

Exit Number:

Pennsylvania Road Signs
Pennsylvania Road Signs

Interstate Numbering System:

Pennsylvania Road Signs

Mile Markers:

Pennsylvania Road Signs

Route Markers

These tell you about the route you’re using. 

These may come with supporting signs or arrows, as the table below shows:

U.S. Traffic Route 22Junction Plate(you’re approaching an intersection on Route 22)Supplemental Arrow(You’re approaching a right turn on Route 22)
Keystone Marker(Pennsylvania Traffic Route 22)
Direction Plate(You’re traveling west on Route 22) (Continue ahead to gain access to Route 22) 

Service Signs

These direct you to service facilities. 

It is usually square or rectangular, with a blue background and white markings.

Pennsylvania Road Signs

 Hospital             Telephone         Restaurant       Gas station        Diesel gas          Lodging

                           Booth                                                                    station 

Directional Signs

Finally, there are directional signs. 

These help people reach attractions like state or national parks, museums, or historical landmarks.

Pennsylvania Road Signs

Pennsylvania Pavement Markings 

The last thing we’ll look at here is the pavement markings. 

Pavement markings are the lines you see on the road, whether center lines, lanes lines, or edge lines. 

These typically come in two colors: yellow and white. 

Yellow divides traffic in opposite directions, while white directs vehicles traveling the same way.

Lines can be broken or solid, and these mean different things:

A broken yellow centerline separates opposing traffic on a two-lane road. You can pass other vehicles but must use the lane of oncoming traffic.
A double solid yellow centerline marks the division between traffic going opposite directions on a two-lane road. However, you cannot pass other vehicles, even if there isn’t a No Passing sign.
A combination of a solid and broken yellow centerline means drivers on the side with the broken line can pass. Those on the side where the line is solid cannot.
You’ll find center turn lines on three- or five-lane highways. You cannot use the center lane for passing because of the solid yellow line. However, vehicles can use it to turn due to the broken yellow ones on the inside.
Some multi-lane highways don’t have center dividers or medians. Instead, you’ll find double yellow lines. 

Broken white lines divide traffic going in the same direction.
Most limited-access highways have a median. You’ll notice a solid white line on the right edge, while a yellow one marks the left.  

On either side of the median, broken white lines divide the lanes, indicating that you can pass other vehicles.

The Wrap Up

That was a lot!

Keeping tabs on the different Pennsylvania road signs takes a lot of work. 

But if you have a general idea of the signals, signs, and markings, you’ll be able to determine what they mean. 

Of course, it’s not enough to just know the meaning.

You have to ensure you obey all the signals, signs, and markings that you encounter. 

Remember, it’s always best to be a responsible driver!

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