Traffic Signs and Signals: Colors & Shapes

Traffic signs can be separated into many different categories based on the use of the sign. However, some signs fit into more than one category and can have different meanings depending on their shape and color.

Traffic Sign & Signal Colors


Yield Sign - R1-2

Red traffic signals means a full stop is required. Common red traffic signs are stop signs, yield signs, and do not enter signs. Regulatory signs are often red. 



Bump Sign W8-1

Yellow means the type of traffic sign is a Warning Sign. Examples being pedestrian crossing signs,”BUMP” signs, and “traffic signal ahead” signs.



Detour with Arrow M4-9

This color is reserved for Construction Zone signs. Common construction signs in this color are detour signs, end / begin road work signs, and work zone speed limit signs.



 Bike Route Signs

Green means go, signifies a direction, or marks distances. A green traffic light means you may proceed.. Common green traffic signs are destination signs, mile markers, and bike route signs.



D12-1 Weather Information Signs

Driver information services and facilities. Common blue traffic signs and signals include rest-stop signs, hospital signs, and interstate highway signs.



RA-010 Airport Signs

Brown mark the locations of recreational facilities and areas of cultural interest. They will point you in the direction of state parks, camping areas, and local gas stations.

Traffic Sign Shapes

Rectangular signs

Are the most basic shape of sign.

Octagonal signs

Octagonal shape is reserved for stop signs.

Diamond shaped signs

These are used to warn drivers, and commonly come in yellow or orange.

Traffic Signal Patterns

Steady Red

Come to a complete stop and wait for a green light.

Flashing Red

Treat this like a stop sign. All right-of-way laws that apply to stop sign intersections apply here as well.

Flashing Yellow

“Proceed with caution”. The drivers facing the light have right-of-way, but there will sometimes be oncoming traffic that also has flashing yellow traffic signal.

To find out the different meanings of the shapes and colors for various traffic signs, here is a link with more information and explanations.