Street Sign Meanings

Why Are Street Signs Different Colors?

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Street Sign Colors and Meanings

Street signs come in many different colors, making them difficult to keep track of. Knowing the differences between what each color means could be the difference between getting lost and arriving at your destination safely. Street signs are different colors because, to put it simply, they mean different things.

In order to help you understand why street signs are different colors, we are listing each color followed by their corresponding regulations. The color codes below are taken from the most up-to-date Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for Streets and Highways. This color code system should give you a strong understanding of how street signs were developed.

What Do White and Black Street Signs Mean?

Speed Limit 25 MPH Sign;The white and black color scheme is reserved for posted regulations. If you see one of these signs, they’ll likely also be in the shape of a rectangle or square. These shapes are meant to notify drivers of various regulations. Some examples of what white and black signs can be used for include:

  • One way
  • Keep right
  • Speed limit
  • No turn on red

What Do Blue Street Signs Mean?

Drug Free School Zone;Blue street signs are for road user services guidance, evacuation routes, and tourist information. Some examples of what blue signs can be used for include:

  • Fueling stations
  • Restaurants
  • Hurricane evacuation routes
  • Rest areas

What Do Brown Street Signs Mean?

Reserved Parking Sign;Brown signs are similar to blue signs, but are reserved for recreational and cultural interest areas. Some examples of what brown signs can be used for include:

  • Trails or hiking locations
  • Theme parks
  • Historic buildings
  • Museums
  • Zoos

What Do Fluorescent Yellow-Green Street Signs Mean?

Pedestrian Crossing Sign;These signs are primarily used to warn drivers that there are pedestrians present or they are entering a school area. Some examples of what fluorescent yellow-green signs can be used for include:

  • School zones
  • Pedestrian warnings
  • Bicycle warnings
  • Playground warnings

What Do Fluorescent Pink Street Signs Mean?

Emergency Scene Ahead Sign;These signs are unique in color and purpose. They are strictly used for incident management. Some examples of what fluorescent pink signs can be used for include:

  • Emergency scenes
  • Motor vehicle accidents

What Do Green Street Signs Mean?

Reserved Parking Sign;These signs offer directional guidance to drivers. Some examples of what green signs can be used for include:

  • Light rail transit station ahead
  • Interchange exit
  • Roadway identification and mile markers
  • Destination distance

What Do Orange Street Signs Mean?

Utility Work Ahead Sign;Orange signs are fairly similar to the pink signs with one major difference: orange signs are used for planned temporary events such as road construction and pink signs are used specifically for unplanned events like car accidents. Some examples of what orange signs can be used for include:

  • Road closed
  • Road work ahead
  • Men at work
  • Detour ahead
  • Construction ahead

What Do Purple Street Signs Mean?

Purple signs are solely for the purposes of restricting lanes to use by vehicles with register electronic toll collection (ETC) accounts such as:

  • E-ZPass
  • SunPass
  • FasTrack

What Do Red Street Signs Mean?

Do Not Enter Sign;Red signs simply mean stop or prohibition. Some examples of what red signs can be used for include:

  • Stop
  • Do not enter
  • Yield

What Do Yellow Street Signs Mean?

Speed Bump Sign;Yellow signs are commonly permanent warning signs in areas where the driver needs to be informed of unexpected conditions. Some examples of what yellow signs can be used for include:

  • Signal ahead
  • Slippery when wet
  • Speed bump
  • Animal crossing
  • Dead end

The color of a street sign is an important factor when attempting to understand what that sign means. In some instances, the color of the sign is more important than actual message of the sign. For example, think about how many times you’ve seen a red octagonal sign and instantly knew that it meant “stop.” Even if you didn’t see the word stop on the sign, you’d likely still know what the sign meant for you as a driver. That is the power of knowing what each color represents.

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