Tennessee Road Signs (A Complete Guide)

Tennessee Road Signs

So you want a refresher about the Tennessee road signs?

Or maybe you’re preparing for your permit test…

Whatever the case, we’ve got you. 

Here, we’re going to give you a complete guide to the Tennessee traffic signs, traffic signals, and pavement markings. 

This way, you can familiarize yourself with it all – and thus be able to obey it.

So shall we?

Tennessee Traffic Signs 

In Tennessee, there are 5 types of road signs. These are: 

  • Regulatory signs
  • Warning signs
  • Guide and direction signs
  • Speed limit signs
  • Work zone signs

You can determine these signs by their shape, color, and symbol. 

Let’s take a closer look at these…

Traffic Sign Shapes

Each sign shape conveys a different meaning.

Tennessee Road Signs

A rectangular or square sign signifies a regulation, such as a speed limit, no entry sign, one-way sign, etc.  

An octagon is a stop sign, which requires you to come to a complete stop before proceeding.

The upside-down triangle shape is a yield sign. With this, drivers need to slow down to allow all right-of-way pedestrians and vehicles to pass before continuing. 

A horizontal rectangular shape means it’s a guide sign. 

A round shape is usually a railroad sign.

As for the diamond shape, this means it’s a sign that warns you of hazards ahead. 

Study the different Tennessee road sign shapes so you’ll have a good idea of what the sign is telling you. 

Traffic Sign Colors

Besides the shapes, you’ll also get an idea of what the sign is telling you by its color. 

Tennessee Road Signs

RED – Requires a complete stop or indicates a prohibition.

YELLOW – Warns you of hazards ahead.

ORANGE – Warns drivers of construction zones or road maintenance up ahead.

BLACK/WHITE – Indicates a regulatory sign. It must be obeyed. 

BROWN – Indicates a recreational, historic, or scenic site.

GREEN – Gives direction and distance to specific locations.

BLUE – Indicates a service nearby, such as a gas station or hotel.

FLUORESCENT YELLOW-GREEN – Operates like a warning, informing you of an upcoming school zone, bicycle path, pedestrian crossing, or curve. 

Now that you’re familiar with the shapes and colors, let’s look at the individual Tennessee road signs…

Regulatory Signs

Regulatory signs display enforcement regulations in the area you are driving through.

These signs MUST be obeyed.

Failure to do so can lead to tickets, fines, and even points. 

As we saw, regulatory signs are usually square or rectangular. What’s more, it usually comes in black and white (except for a few exceptions).

As for what the sign is indicating, it will either have words or images. 

Down below are some of the more common regulatory signs in Tennessee:

Tennessee Road Signs
Tennessee Road Signs

Warning Signs

As the name implies, warning signs warn you of dangers, hazards, or any road conditions you need to be aware of.

You can easily spot these with their diamond shape and yellow or fluorescent yellow-green color. 

Now, warning signs are a bit hard to read — since it is only image-based. 

So let’s go over a few common warning signs to tell you what they mean: 

Tennessee Road Signs

Work Area Signs

Work area signs are also warning signs — but with a specific purpose. 

You can tell right away when a sign is for work areas with their orange color.  

And sure, work signs aren’t a welcome sight —  but they’re pretty common on the roadways. 

Knowing how to read these signs will help you position yourself in the correct lane ahead of time.

Here are common road signs found in Tennessee:

Tennessee Road Signs
Tennessee Road Signs

Often, a construction worker may direct traffic when heavy machinery is being transported.

Tennessee Road Signs

Work zones may also involve lanes being closed for maintenance.

If so, signs that look like this will guide traffic to open lanes:

Work zone signs

One rule of thumb is to always slow down when crossing a work area. 

Speeding in a work zone is very dangerous, and can lead to some hefty fines, too.

Guide and Service Signs

Green guide signs are mostly informational, giving highway or other directions.

West Memphis sign
Service sign

Brown guide signs show you where the fun is — pointing you to public recreational areas or popular tourist spots.

Route markers have different shapes and different colors. 

Route marker
Tennessee Road Signs

As for service signs, these are blue and direct you to useful services just nearby.

Service sign
Tennessee Road Signs

Tennessee Traffic Signals

Traffic signals are very common. 

If you’re a driver, we’re almost sure you know about the signals.

Traffic signals

So let’s just quickly go over these:

  • Red light means stop.
  • Yellow light means slow down as the red light is about to come on.
  • Green light means to go.
  • Red flashing light means stop, look around, and proceed if it is safe.
  • Yellow flashing light means to slow down and yield the right of way.
  • Green arrow means you can go in the direction the arrow is pointing.
  • Yellow arrow means to slow down as the red arrow is about to come on.
  • Red arrow means you cannot turn in the direction of the arrow.

That’s all pretty basic. 

However, the Tennessee traffic signals you might not know about are lane control signals and pedestrian signals

So let’s take a closer look at these. 

Lane Control Signals

Lane control signals can change lane directions. 

It’s so important to know and obey these signals as you don’t want to catch yourself counterflowing. 

Here, the colors convey the same meaning as traffic lights, but it only applies to the lane the signal is above. 

Tennessee Road Signs

Pedestrian Signals

Pedestrian signals are for people crossing instead of drivers. 

These signals are pretty self-explanatory.

Tennessee Road Signs

Some pedestrian signals have timers to show you how much time until the “walk” or “don’t walk” signal will change. 

Tennessee Pavement Markings

Besides Tennessee road signs and signals, there are also pavement markings you should be aware of. 

Pavement markings help indicate the rules of the road, such as passing and driving directions.

Pavement marking

Broken white lines are for traffic flowing in the same direction. This gives you the all-clear to pass. 

Broken white lines

Broken yellow lines signify a two-way road. Here, passing is allowed — after you confirm no other vehicle is coming in your direction.

Broken yellow lines

Solid yellow lines and broken yellow lines indicate passing restrictions. 

You won’t be able to pass if the solid yellow line is on your side. If the broken line is on your side, then passing is allowed when safe to do so. 

Tennessee Road Signs

Two solid yellow lines prevent passing from both sides. You may only pass when the line has broken up on your side.

Solid yellow lines

HOV lanes have a diamond in the center. This comes into play during times of heavy traffic, where only large vehicles (such as buses and trucks) are allowed to use it.

Tennessee Road Signs

Two Rs with an X in the middle signifies a railroad crossing. You should stop or slow down to observe any passing trains.

Tennessee Road Signs

Stop lines or crosswalks signify where cars should come to a stop, to prevent spilling over into the crosswalk when pedestrians are moving.

ONLY turn arrows signify that the lane is only for vehicles looking to move in the direction of the arrow, whether to turn right or left.


So there you have it — a complete guide to the Tennessee road signs. 

Many of the signs up above are easy to remember, being pretty self-explanatory.

But if you’re not sure of the meaning, you can check its shape and color to have an idea of what type of sign it is. 

From there, you can get a good idea of what the signs mean. 

And when you understand what the sign means, make sure you obey it. 

This will make you the best and safest driver. 

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