Road Sign Color Guide
According to the MUTCD, the color of a roadway sign is an important indicator of the information it contains. So is the shape of the sign.
Here is a quick guide to the colors and shapes of road signs and what they mean. Familiarize yourself with each of these and you’ll be doing your part to make roads safer and more efficient for all.
- Orange signs are typically used to denote a temporary construction zone. Some examples can include road closures, detours, and work crews present.
- Whether it’s on a sign, a traffic light, or a police car’s siren, you should always stop when you see red. Some common signs that use red include stop, yield, wrong-way and do not enter.
- Yellow signs are warning signs that indicate changes to the driving environment and you should be alert.
- Blue signs direct you to hotel, restaurants and gas stations.
- Green signs offer directional guidance to drivers, including travel distances to various destinations, upcoming freeway exits, junctions, and mile markers. Green is also often used on parking signs.
- According to the MUTCD, pink signs are to be used for “incident management.” This means that unlike orange signs, which are used temporarily but for planned purposes, pink signs are used at unplanned events like car accidents.
- Black and White
- Black and white signs are regulatory, meaning they are legally enforceable (versus advisory signs, which are more of a “recommendation”). These signs are meant to notify drivers of various regulations, including speed limits, one-way streets, and HOV lanes.
- Similar to blue, brown is used for services and recreation signs, including federal and state parks, historic buildings, museums, and zoos.
- This color has been included in the MUTCD for pedestrian, bicycle and school crossings
- STOP signs are the only signs that are octagon.
- Vertical Rectangle
- Rectangular signs most often communicate speed limits and parking regulations, but they can also be used to inform drivers of mandatory movements (e.g. lane must turn right).
- These signs almost always alert you to road hazards. They are generally yellow, orange, or pink in color.
- There’s only one sign in the MUTDC handbook on road signs that uses the pentagon shape and that is the school crossing sign.
- Only the railroad crossing ahead sign makes use of this shape.