Everything You Need to Know About Traffic Safety Signs

02.06.2022: You will find them around busy intersections and at the corners of quiet suburban streets; you will see them loom overhead as you speed down the motorway or when you try to find that cottage

You will find them around busy intersections and at the corners of quiet suburban streets; you will see them loom overhead as you speed down the motorway or when you try to find that cottage along that quiet country road.

Safety signs can be found everywhere that cars drive and, while so much road safety is down how drivers behave on the road, that behaviour is dictated in a large part by the safety signs which inform, direct, and explain. Road safety simply wouldn’t work without safety signs, and they can be found in many more places than you might initially expect.

For new drivers and those seasoned behind the wheel alike, traffic signs are something that you need to know about. The most important aspect of their function, however, is not what they mean on their own or what they actually say – it’s how all of that works in tandem with our road rules.

Indeed, traffic signage, from one-way signs to warning signs, can be thought of as a visual language that is deeply integrated with the rules of the road. Just as we know how to react to certain other features of our roads, we should all know what to do when a road safety sign springs up around the next corner.

Road Language

We can think of traffic signs therefore as one of the languages of the road. Sometimes though, this language is spoken in different dialects. Not all roads are the same, and there is specific signage of the motorways, of quiet suburban streets, or even of motor racing tacks and bike lanes. So, if you plan to traverse with four wheels over any of these locations, there can be a few different systems of road safety signage to learn.

Perhaps it is better not to think of it as different systems; road safety is a well-integrated discipline and it’s really all the same system. But undoubtedly, some road safety signs appear more often in certain places than in others; some appear only in certain places. If you want to become a good all-round driver, or if you are freshly embarking on some new kind of driving, learning all the quirks and differences of road safety signage is much advised.

Why Are Traffic Signs Important?

Of course, the general answer to this question is obvious, but it’s worth going into a bit more detail about the precise reason road safety signs are important and valuable. Road safety signs keep drivers safe, but it is often forgotten that they also exist for the benefit of pedestrians as well. Either by instructing them on how to navigate roads down which vehicles are travelling, or by instructing those vehicles about the movements of pedestrians. Road safety signs therefore inform pedestrians about traffic, or traffic about pedestrians – so they are not just for motorists.

Also, when we talk about the language of traffic signs, we shouldn’t get confused with the actual English language which is often used on traffic signs. A lot of signs do have words, but some do not. Usually, it is the more universal aspects of road safety which are represented by easy-to-understand symbols, whereas more particular things are spelled out in letters. Traffic signs, then, are both a visual and a verbal language!

Different Shapes, Different Meanings

As we proceed through this article, we are going to delve further into traffic signs and all their great diversity. Unfortunately, that means things are going to get a little more complicated. The next thing to note about traffic signs is that their shape is also relevant.

Traffic signs can be categorized according to their shape. In one sense, this simplifies matters because the shape will at least tell you something about what the sign means, which is handy when there are literally hundreds of different traffic signs out there.

Traffic signs can be categorized into three different shapes, each of which indicates something different. The shapes are as follows:


Circular road signs give direct orders, and they must be followed if you are going to remain within the bounds of the law. If the circle has a red border, it will be telling you not to do something – i.e., no U turns, no lorries. If the circle has a blue border, on the other hand, then it is giving a positive instruction, such as “turn left ahead”.


Triangular signs are giving you a warning, but not an order. They are there to alert drivers of upcoming hazards or road layouts. Warnings about sharp bends or animal crossings in the countryside will be triangular in shape.


Rectangular signs are simply there to inform. Often, the information given on these road signs will be irrelevant to most of the drivers reading them, but important to some others. For example, rectangular road signs will inform motorists about bus lanes, congestion charging zones, or simply what district or city is coming up.

Less Common Traffic Signs and Where to Find Them

So, having been over the typical road signs, it is time to look at specialist road signs and the unusual situations where they can be found. Sometimes these road signs are official and regulated by traffic authorities, other times they are private signs set up by whoever owns a particular roadway, such as the owner of a racing track or a private lane approaching a farm. There are far too many examples to give an exhaustive list, but here are a few:

Racing Tracks

What traffic signs are found on racing tracks depends on what track it is an who owns the track. From go-karts right up to Formula One, racing tracks require special instructions for drivers, such as where the pitstops are or where the lanes that are not for racing are located, and so on. These signs can take many forms.

Wildlife Areas

In these areas, you can see all sorts of weird and wonderful animal shapes appearing on road signs. These road signs are usually entirely pictorial, and you might see anything from a crocodile to a kangaroo to a sheep or a bear – depending on where you are in the world, obviously!

Especially Dangerous Situations

If you are winding round the side of a mountain in your offroad vehicle, you may see all sorts of hazard signs that you would never encounter on a typical urban road. Signs like these are to warn drivers about especially dangerous situations such as falling rocks, extremely bumpy terrain, or even “sudden gunfire”. They are usually spelled out in English unless the symbol is obvious.

And that, then, is the world of traffic road signs and the fascinating verbal-pictorial-colour code language that they speak. Learning how to drive is just the first step; after that, you have to learn to communicate with the road itself.

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/everything-you-need-know-about-traffic-safety-signs---238223.html

02.06.2022 / MaP

More News

The new Ares Defender V8 Hardtop - Ultimate luxury and unmatched all-terrain
 •    Modenese coachbuilder ARES reveals limited-edition ARES Defender V8 Hardtop   •    Combination of OEM-level technology and artisan Italian coachwork and trim skills creates ultimate inca more >>
Porsche Taycan new art car: sneaker design meets electric sports car
Sean Wotherspoon has designed a unique Taycan 4 Cross Turismo.The designer and influencer Sean Wotherspoon is all about fashionable streetwear with a vivid colour palette and unusual materials. The 32-year-old joined forces with Porsche in designing his own person more >>
World Premiere of the all-new Lexus RX
Introducing the 5th generation RX as a completely reinvented vehicle   Exterior ‘spindle body’ design expresses dynamism and eleganceLine-up of three electrified powertrai more >>
Renault Group and Managem Group sign an agreement for a sustainable supply of Moroccan Cobalt
- A strategic partnership to secure low-carbon cobalt sulphate produced in Morocco and guarantee traceability of electric battery supply chain.- This agreement is part of Renault Group and Managem Group’s strategy to build a more sustainable and transparent battery value chain.  more >>
Autoliv and Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research collaborate to save more lives
Autoliv, Inc. (NYSE: ALV) (SSE: ALIVsdb), the worldwide leader in automotive safety systems, demonstrated the possibilities of powered two-wheeler airbags in a crash test attended by the Minister of Transport of Malaysia on May 23. The test was conducted in relation to the tenth anniversa more >>
Porsche Taycan tour around the world supports local projects
Porsche as partner to societyThe ‘Join the Porsche Ride’ initiative starts today with its first stage running from Stuttgart to Leipzig. A Porsche Taycan will drive to numerous destinations on five continents over the coming years. The objective: lo more >>
Lamborghini Miura: the world’s first production car equipped with a transverse central - rear mounted V12 engine
The story of a legendary engine in the year of the V12, ahead of the hybrid model launch in 2023In 1966, the Lamborghini V12 engine firmly established it more >>
Skills shortage may stunt the auto industry’s software ambitions
The automotive industry’s new-found interest in software as a product differentiator is at risk of being compromised by a lack of quality computer science graduates, warns connectivity pioneer VNC Automotive.Key players such as Volkswagen and Volvo hav more >>
Footman James Announcing Coffee & Chrome Collective
... a new initiative from Footman James celebrating and nurturing classic culture in the UK.Footman James has increased its commitment to supporting automotive culture in the UK with launch of all-new Coffee & Chrome Collective initiative more >>
David Brown Automotive partner with LINLEY to display Mini Remastered in London for Platinum Jubilee
David Brown Automotive and LINLEY partner to celebrate Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive to be displayed in LINLEY’s flagship showroom, in heartland of London’s decorative arts district more >>
Stellantis and Toyota Expand Partnership with New Large-size Commercial Van Including an Electric Version
Stellantis and Toyota Motor Europe (TME) announce a new agreement on large-size commercial vans for the European marketThe new large-size van completes TME’s compact and mid-size van line-up under the existing partnership and strengthens Stellantis’ light commercial vehicle (LCV) scale in Europe in line with its Dare Forward 2030 objectives more >>
5 Essential Gauges For Your Race Car
It's crucial to know what's going on inside a race car. This is where gauges come into play. Gauges on your dashboard let you keep tabs on everything from your car's speed to the temperature and even the oil pressure. Because of this, gauges are critical to the hea more >>
New entry-level roadster Mercedes-AMG SL 43 now available to order
All standard equipment and options also activated in the configuratorWith the new Mercedes-AMG SL 43 (combined fuel consumption 9.4–8.9 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 214–201 g/km) [1], entry into the iconic world of the more >>
Red Bull Powertrains partners with Atlas Copco - creating the smart factory
Oracle Red Bull Racing’s journey towards becoming a fully independent Formula One constructor takes another step forward today with the announcement that Red Bull Powertrains is to partner with leading industrial assembly solutions provider Atlas Copco. more >>
The new competition packages for the Audi RS 4 Avant and Audi RS 5
Audi RS 5 Coupé 2.9 TFSI quattro: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8.7; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 199   New optional coilover suspension in combination with the more sporty Audi quattro sport differential and Pirelli Corsa P Zero m more >>
The all-new Mazda CX-60 - an evolution of Kodo design
    The all-new Mazda CX-60 will be sold in Exclusive-Line, Homura and Takumi grades in the UK.    Priced from £43,950, the all-new Mazda CX-60 is available to order now for arrival in the autumn.    The all-new Mazda CX-60 features Mazda’s first plug-in hybrid powertrain. more >>
Audi is designing a hybrid working world
   Audi regards hybrid working as an integral part of a forward-looking working world        Flexible and independent: all employees are entitled to work remotely, provided that doing so is consistent with the type of work they do        Audi is banking on the responsibility of its empl more >>
World premiere of the new Mercedes GLC
Mercedes-Benz will unveil the new GLC on Wednesday, 1 June 2022 at 5:00 p.m. (CEST)The GLC is the global market leader in its segment and the most dynamic and successful Mercedes-Benz SUV. The new generation will more >>
Lamborghini Monaco debuts new showroom
Official opening of new dealership in the Principality of MonacoAutomobili Lamborghini has inaugurated a new Monaco dealership. Located in the center of the principality of 40,000 inhabitants, the new location fits the latest design and corporate identity tha more >>
BMW Group uses sustainable paints made from bio-waste
Innovative corrosion protection and matt paint without fossil resources lower CO2 emissions by 40 percentCO2 emissionsThe BMW Group is using innovative technologies in its efforts to improve sustainability and taking advantage of new more >>
Lexus UX upgrades deliver new tech, improved handling and more choice
    Lexus introduces upgrades for its compact luxury SUV       New Lexus multimedia systems with faster, more intuitive operation, eight and 12-inch touchscreens, cloud-based navigation a more >>
CAKE Electric motorcycle riders help save endangered animals
Cake customers donate eight electric Kalk AP motorcycles to be used in anti-poaching activities on the African continent.CAKE, the Swedish maker of premium lightweight, electric motorcycles, today announced the latest development in its anti-poaching program more >>
The popular Audi A1 citycarver will get a new name in the 2023 model year: Audi A1 allstreet
- New Black Optics Pro Package for the Audi A4 allroad quattro        - New color options and a newly enhanced interior for the Audi Q7 and Audi Q8  A new name, plenty of sportiness, and more equipment – updates for more >>
New Range Rover Sport revealed with epic spillway climb
New Range Rover Sport luxury performance SUV avoided a perilous drop and defied a torrent of water to make its global premiere with a world-first demonstration of dynamic capability     Dramatic debut: New Range Ro more >>
Stefan Marjoram distinguishes Healey by Caton design enhancements in new visual artist animation
    Healey by Caton has been depicted by three artists since its launch in April       The latest impression by leading visual artist Stefan Marjoram launched today more >>
New PEUGEOT 308 and 308 SW launch
PEUGEOT has launched the New PEUGEOT 308 and 308 SW in the UK. The European Car of the Year Finalist and Women’s World Car of the Year is open for orders with prices starting at £25,270 for the New 308 and £26,470 for the New 308 SW.  The New more >>
Used car prices stabilise in Q1 following 35% growth in the past 12 months
    In quarter one, the UK’s top 20 most searched for used cars plateaued in price, reducing by an average of -3.8%    Data from used car buying platform CarGurus found prices levelling off following YoY increases of 34.7%    Ford Kuga (-8.5%) and Ford Focus (-8.2%) experienced the biggest decre more >>
Four Ways To Reduce Insurance Costs After An Accident
It can be a pain when you accidentally get into a car crash and have to pay additional insurance costs because of your mistake. On average, the car insurance rate increase for an accident you were at fault for is more >>
The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase - Long awaited
    Class-leading luxury SUV extends by 180 mm to create Bentley’s next sector-defining grand tourer       A new focus on wellness, with integrated world-first seat technology    more >>
Fablink Group launches Streamline Automotive to provide low to medium volume vehicle manufacturing
....for automotive and e-mobility brands    Fablink Group, leading British Tier 1 supplier, announces the establishment of new a division: Streamline Automotive    Streamline Automotive created to meet rapid more >>
2023 Honda Odyssey Gets Expressive New Sport Model
-  Introduces Honda Complimentary Maintenance Plan    First-ever Odyssey Sport includes gloss black grille, exterior trim and 19-inch wheels    New Sport trim interior features black leather with sp more >>
All-new 2023 Sportage X-Pro set to conquer Rebelle Rally this Fall
    Kia America returns to the all-women off-road navigational desert challenge for a third year in a row    The All-New 2023 Sportage X-Pro will compete in the rally’s X-Cross classKia America is geared more >>
Lamborghini expands in Sweden
- Official opening of new Stockholm showroomAutomobili Lamborghini has officially opened a new showroom in Stockholm: this second dealership for Sweden in the capital joins Lamborghini’s first successful franchised location in Malm& more >>
McLaren Automotive and Bowers & Wilkins announce multi-year partnership
Luxury supercar maker McLaren Automotive and Bowers & Wilkins, the respected high-end audio brand, today announce their strategic long-term multi-year partnership which sees Bowers & Wilkins become McLaren's Official Audio Partner.The partnership more >>
Nardò Technical Center: 10 years with Porsche
The Nardò Technical Center (NTC), the South-Italian proving ground owned by Porsche and operated by Porsche Engineering, celebrates its tenth anniversary of the acquisition by the German sports car manufacturer today. Within this time, the NTC, covering over 700 he more >>
Abarth calls on its Community to design the livery of the future
•    It is time for the second installment of “Abarth Performance Creators”, the collaborative tool which allows the brand’s fans to co-design the Abarth of the future.   •    After nearly more >>
Lotus launches Emira GT4 race car with hot laps at Hethel - with video
 •    Guests at VIP event treated to multi-lap thrill ride with Gavan Kershaw behind the wheel   •    Emira GT4 is first new model to be launched by Lotus Advanced Performance more >>
Cake appoints Stina Fagerman to the board of directors
Senior executive at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, and formerly managing director at one of Scanias market companies, joins Swedish maker of premium electric motorcycles Cake, the Swedish maker of premium lightweight, electric motorcycles, today more >>
Production Start of Acura Integra Signals Return of Iconic Model - Being Built for First Time in America
    Associates at Marysville Auto Plant become first to build Integra in the U.S.    Next generation Acura Integra features a dynamic, sporty design with a coupe-like roofline and segment-exclusive liftback bodystyle    2023 Integra will begin arriving at Acura dealerships nationwide in early June more >>
2001-2023 copyright automobilsport.com