US Road Sign Shapes and Colors – What you Must Know

Stop Sign Covered In Snow

Why is Learning Road Sign Shapes and Colors Important?

The reason you should know road sign shapes and colors is that you must be able to recognize them from a distance and react to their message in time and appropriately.

During winter, road signs might be covered with snow or ice, and hard to read. If you approach an eight-sided and red road sign you know you must come to complete stop, even if you cannot see the word stop. If the sign ahead is an upside-down triangle, you know it is a yield sign. Watch for traffic and be prepared to stop.

Any time you see as round sign ahead, you know there is a railroad crossing ahead, even if you cannot see the symbols. Watch for signals, closing gates and trains.

Five-sided shape

Pentagon Shaped Road Signs

This is another of the road sign shapes that are unique. It is only used to mark school areas and school crossings. When necessary, slow down and obey the speed limits.

Diamond shaped sign

Diamond Shaped Road Signs

Diamond shaped road signs mean that there may be a possible hazard on the road or close by. They also alert you to changing roadway conditions. These warning signs can be yellow, orange, or pink. If you are not sure what the sign means, slow down and be alert.

Vertical rectangles

Regulatory Road Signs

Regulatory signs are mostly vertical rectangles or square shaped. You must always obey regulatory signs. Slow down until you can read the sign clearly.

Horizontal rectangles

Guide signs

Horizontal rectangle road signs are generally used as guide signs. They show locations, directions, or other special information. They may be blue, green, or brown. If you are on a long trip and looking for a rest area, watch for a blue sign. If you want to find a special exit on the interstate, look for a green sign.

Do You Know What These Shapes Mean?


Road Signs Test

All road sign shapes and colors appear on our free online test for U.S. Road Signs. You can take road sign practice test focused on just shapes and colors here: U.S. Road Signs – Shapes and Colors Quiz

This blog post has another short road sign test: Road Sign Shapes Test for Your Permit

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