The first set of signs we’ll cover are the standard, regulatory signs you’ll see all over the road, pretty much no matter where you are. They are:
- Stop: This sign, as you might have guessed, means you need to stop wherever you see one. They are almost always accompanied by a line across the road at which you should stop, and most areas require you come to a full and complete stop before proceeding.
- Yield: This sign is meant to alert you to any upcoming hazards, road conditions, or oncoming traffic (there are signs which signal for you to yield prior to merging to avoid accidents). It means slow down, defer to oncoming traffic, stop if necessary, and proceed when it’s safe to do so. A flashing yellow light at an intersection serves for this purpose as well.
Speed Regulation Signs
These signs are designed to indicate the speed at which it is appropriate to go on a certain road. There are some that indicate a single speed, and some that indicate two speeds: the maximum allowed on a road, and the minimum allowed on a road. These may be changed under certain circumstances, such as road work or similar, and should be followed to maintain safety for all using the road.
- Single Speed: Indicates the maximum speed on a road for standard vehicles.
- Truck Speed: Indicates the maximum speed for larger trucks and vehicles.
- Combination Speed: Indicates both the maximum and minimum speed for all vehicles on the road; most often used on highways and interstates to avoid collisions.
Turns And Lane Usage
Just as the road itself is painted to indicate turning lanes and the like, there are signs to indicate where you can and can’t turn, u-turn, take a left turn into oncoming traffic, etc. These come in the form of:
- No Right Turn: This sign is used to indicate a one-way street that you can not turn right onto. Most often, you will see these in downtown areas.
- No Left Turn: This sign is used to indicate a one-way street that you can’t turn left onto. Again, most often seen in downtown areas.
- No U-Turn: This indicates that a U-turn is not legal in an area where this sign is posted. Typically, it is because the area has too much traffic (for instance, oncoming traffic as well as traffic coming out of road-side shopping centers, etc.) to safely allow a U-turn.
- Left Turn Only and Right Turn Only: These will usually be paired with the no-turn equivalent of its opposite sign, and indicates one-way roads onto which traffic only goes left or right.
- Left/Straight Optional and Right/Straight Optional: These are used to indicate lanes which allow a driver to go either straight across traffic, or turn left or right onto an adjacent road. More often than not, the road will be painted to indicate this as well.
Movement Regulation Signs
These signs will indicate moves a driver can make on any particular road, and for some, also indicate when to start a movement – usually in the case of roundabouts, where a certain lane can take you left or right. They are:
- Do Not Pass: Indicates, as you might have guessed (do I even still have your attention at this point? Goodness this is boring – sorry everyone.), that you can’t pass in an area where this is posted. Because it’s dangerous. Seriously, don’t do it. I’ve seen a wreck happen because someone didn’t bother to pay attention – it was ugly.
- Pass With Care: This one indicates – you guessed it – an area where it’s safe to pass as long as you use common sense and caution.
These signs will all indicate that you’re basically doing it wrong, or that you shouldn’t be where you are right now, if you’re where you shouldn’t be. Allow me to explain:
- Do Not Enter: If you see this sign, it means you don’t belong there, and should probably stay out. Usually it’ll be posted at the beginning of an exit that is meant to come out where you’re trying to go in, but can also be used for other areas as well.
- Wrong Way: Much like the ‘Do Not Enter’ sign, it indicates that you’re where you shouldn’t be. For example, you turned into that exit I mentioned before, completely ignoring the sign telling you not to enter, and now they have to tell you you’re going the wrong way. They are also used on one-way roads for people who ignored those signs, too.
- Wrong Way – Bicycle Edition: The same as the previous ‘Wrong Way’ sign, but for cyclists. Always ride with the flow of traffic, kids.
- No Trucks Allowed: This one means that no large trucks (mostly transfer trucks) aren’t allowed on this road. Like a ‘personal vehicles only’ club.
- Emergency Parking Only: This sign will indicate that only emergency vehicles such as police vehicles, ambulances, and firetrucks can park in this lane. Please don’t be the person who parks here. That’s not only illegal, it’s also dangerous and annoying.
Study Your Road Signs!
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