Traffic signs tell us to stop, to watch out for curved roads, and to slow down. They are of different shapes, colors, sizes and heights but there is a method for all this madness.
Step 1. You must know the different categories of traffic signs
- The regulatory signs regulate (forgive the redundancy) the flow of traffic and movement. They come in different shapes and colors. The most common regulatory signs are "Stop," "Yield," "No Pass," "One Way," speed limits, and signs indicating a school zone.
They warn drivers of dangerous oncoming traffic, dangerous streets, and other situations that require caution. They are generally yellow or orange in color and are shaped like a diamond.
They announce the route number of a road or the direction a particular street will take you. They are usually white or green. Route markers are blue with a red line across the top.
- The guide signs they inform drivers about destinations and distances, expressways, highways and work zones. They are generally rectangular and have different colors.
- The signs of recreational or cultural areas They are brown in color and have white text. They point to nearby points of interest. They are usually directed towards travelers and mention restaurants, service stations, areas with drinking water, lodgings, recreational places on land, water or snow, among other services.
Method 1 of 4: Regulation Signals
Step 1. The stop signs are red, shaped like an octagon, and the text is white
They tell drivers to come to a complete stop before the white line on the track. Drivers must look both ways to yield to pedestrians and other traffic before proceeding.
- Each sign has a label at the bottom that indicates how many cars in the intersection have a “Stop” sign.
- Two-way signals They tell you that two cars have it: you and the car coming from the opposite direction on the same street. Both of you must yield to cars on the cross street.
- 3-way signals they are generally only present at intersections that have 3 streets, so they work the same way as 4-way signs and all-way signs. The car that reaches the intersection earlier may leave the intersection first after coming to a complete stop. If two cars arrive at the same time, the one on the right has the right of way.
Step 2. Yield
These signs are red and white. They tell drivers to slow down and prepare to stop if there are vehicles or pedestrians in the intersection.
- An alternate version of a "Yield" sign is a white rectangle that says "Towards Traffic."
- Some “Yield” signs specify that you must stop to give way for pedestrians or that there is a crosswalk that you must stop at.
Step 3. Speed limit
They indicate the speed that drivers must maintain on that street. It is generally accepted that you go 10 km / h (5 mph) over or under the limit. Any speeding can result in a fine.
Step 4. Lane regulation
These signs are white and tell drivers that they can only turn one way (right, left, u-turn). They also indicate if any lane is reserved for certain vehicles (taxis, buses, trucks, etc.).
Step 5. Regulation of movement
These signs are white and tell drivers whether to stay in their lane, change lanes, or go in a certain direction.
Step 6. Selective Exclusion
These signs include the "No Pass" and "One Way" signs and are usually red. They also specify whether certain vehicles such as buses, bicycles, tractors, trucks, etc. they are forbidden on a street (they are generally white).
Step 7. One-way signs are white and indicate that traffic should only flow in one direction on that particular street
Step 8. Parking regulations
They specify the hours at which parking on that section of the street is prohibited.
Step 9. The train crossing signs are white and shaped like an X
They tell you that the train tracks are ahead and you should be prepared in case the train approaches. This means don't stop in the middle of the intersection and be careful.
Method 2 of 4: Caution Signs
Step 1. Turn and curve signals tell you the shape of the track ahead and the direction you must go to proceed safely
Some signs have numbers that indicate how fast you should go as you go through the curve or if you are entering a curved street. Be extra careful when it's raining.
Step 2. The intersection signs show the shape of the intersection you are approaching
Watch the traffic crossing the intersection.
Step 3. Advanced traffic control
These signs have self-explanatory words or other signs on a yellow diamond-shaped sign. They will tell you if there is a “Stop”, “Yield” sign, or altered speed limits later on.
Step 4. The lane transition and confluence signs alert you to changes in the road and how to act
These signs may tell you to change lanes or alert you that traffic in a certain direction is not stopping.
Step 5. Width restriction
This sign tells you that the road, bridge or ramp you are about to enter becomes narrower. You may need to change lanes to compensate for this condition.
Step 6. Hill
It indicates the presence of hills and may suggest that you change gears in your car. They also mention the percentage of the hill's gradient, which describes its slope.
Step 7. Condition of the pavement
These signs describe the condition of the pavement ahead, whether it is rough, loose gravel, or uneven. It also points to potholes or hills so slow down if you see them.
The “No Center Line” sign is an orange sign that indicates that there is no paint to separate your lane from the lane of oncoming traffic
Step 8. Low-rise signs indicate the ceiling height of the area you are approaching
If your car is taller than what is shown on the sign, you cannot pass that way.
Step 9. Work area
They are orange signs indicating that there is a construction project ahead. Proceed with caution and watch out for delays.
Step 10. The “speed limit warning” signs indicate the recommended speed for the street you are on but they are not controlled by the government, therefore, you can drive at a different speed than the one they indicate without being fined
Method 3 of 4: Marker Signals
Step 1. Route markers
They tell you the identification number of the interstate. They are blue with white text and have a red line across the top that says "Interstate." They are shaped like a shield.
Step 2. Auxiliary signs of cardinal direction
They tell you if the highway you are entering takes you north, south, east or west.
Step 3. Alternate route signs
They are of three types. White informs you of alternate routes and if you need to avoid something along the way. Orange signs alert you to a detour and point you in the alternate direction to take. Green signs inform cyclists of the start and end of an auxiliary road.
Step 4. Auxiliary addresses
They indicate the possible addresses with which you can proceed later. They are white and have black arrows.
- Auxiliary bike directions. They are green, have white arrows, and work the same way.
Method 4 of 4: Guidance Signs
Step 1. The Distance and Destination signs indicate the entrances and exits to the highways, the number of kilometers to certain destinations, street names, parking lots, weigh stations, and bicycle routes
They are generally green and have white text. They can also include icons or images. An exception are the signs indicating rest areas and general services (food and lodging), which are blue.
Step 2. Work Zone Information signs warn of the presence of work zones and where they end
They are orange in color, have black text, and require drivers to slow down to approach carefully. They should also expect delays.
Step 3. The General Information signs are green and indicate the political limits (state, city or county) and the speed at which you must drive
These signs also include city or state welcome signs, which can be personalized.
- Usually, speed limits in school zones are between 25 and 30 km / h (15 to 20 mph). Fines are doubled in school zones and work zones so pay attention.
- Speed limits: help regulate the flow of traffic. It is illegal to drive faster than the speed is posted on the sign.
- Stop - A stop sign means you must stop. If there is a white line painted next to the sign, stop behind it. If there is no painted line, then stop where you have optimal visibility of the intersection. If visibility of the intersection is poor, stop behind the stop sign and move slowly until you can see it clearly.
- Yield: A yield sign means you must slow down. Let traffic, pedestrians, or people on bicycles pass before continuing.