They Come in Colors Everywhere
While some believe that traffic signs are only colored for style purposes, the truth is that their color scheme has a very important meeting. Consider the following common sign colors:
Yellow: Signs that colored yellow denotes caution. You'll find these at intersections where you'll need to merge with ongoing traffic or in zones where construction might be going on or where you need to slow down and exercise more caution.
Green: These helpful signs provide directional information and indicate distance.
Red: Red traffic signs mean 'stop.' They can also mean 'yield,' in certain circumstances, but in most cases, it helps motorists know when they need to stop and only proceed when it's safe.
Blue: Blue signs offer useful information for road users and tourists. They may also indicate evacuation routes. However, if you see a large blue person on the sign, and the sign is a billboard, it may not be a traffic sign at all, but rather an advertisement for the Blue Man Group.
Orange: Orange signs are used in road areas undergoing construction and maintenance to warn you of unusual traffic conditions.
Know Your Shapes
You may not have worried about learning your shapes since childhood, but knowing the meaning of traffic sign shapes is essential for any driver.
Octagon: Not just a fighting ring. This shape is used only for stop signs, so get that braking foot ready. For fun on a long road trip, yell 'octagon' every time you stop at a stop sign. Your friends and family will love this.
Circle: This shape is used only for railroad crossing warning signs. Train yourself to watch out for these signs; it could keep you on the right side of the tracks.
Downward-Facing Triangle: Not to be confused with a popular yoga pose, this sign shape, and orientation are used only with yield signs.
Diamond: Unlike real diamonds, which everyone seems to like and want more of, this shape is used to indicate caution. They also warn drivers of upcoming road conditions or hazards. You'll see a lot of these when approaching bridges to warn drivers of bridge conditions during certain weather situations.
Crossbuck (X-Shaped): With apologies to nerds everywhere, this sign does not mean one is nearing the secret lair of the X-Men. On the contrary, it means you are near a railroad crossing and you should be paying attention to oncoming trains and watch for the arms if they start coming down. Sometimes, there aren't any arms protecting drivers, so approach with caution, look both ways, and proceed.
Addressing a Common Point of Confusion
Many drivers seem to confuse stop signs with yield signs. Disregarding the obvious difference between a downward-facing triangle and a glorious octagon, they lightly tap their brakes at stop signs before blasting their way into a line of traffic, battling for pole position like a salmon fighting upstream. Don't be like them. Always come to a full, complete stop at stop signs, and when you see a yield sign, be sure to adhere to the most important part of yielding: the part where you actually yield.
There's More to Explore
This is far from a comprehensive list of every permutation of sign shape and color. It behooves responsible drivers everywhere to dive into the world of traffic signs and explore all of the possibilities they might encounter.
Once you've memorized every sign and color, you can explain them all in rigorous detail to your family at the holiday dinner table. It's a sure way to keep everyone distracted as you eat both turkey legs or take the finest slices of honey-glazed ham for yourself. If anyone calls you out as you load up your third plate, you can always say, "so what? I didn't see a red octagon."
At Traffic Safety GA, we understand that it's important to know the difference between all traffic signs. Did you know that we can also provide traffic safety signs and equipment for your next event? Contact us today to find out more.