Road Sign Meanings
Many of us studied the highway code to pass our driving test but how many can say they’ve picked up a copy of the highway code since?
Whether you need a refresher or you’re a learner driver aiming to pass your test, our handy guide aims to cover some of the most popular questions around road signs.
What do blue road signs mean?
A blue road sign aims to give information to the driver and it has various functions depending on its shape.
Blue circle road signs give a positive (compulsory) instruction to a driver such as turn left or mini roundabout.
Blue rectangle road signs are informational signs, but on motorways they are used for directions.
What do green road signs mean?
Signs on primary routes have green backgrounds and are designed to give directions.
What is the sign for a ring road?
The ring road sign has a yellow boarder and green background with the letter R in it. It lets you know that it is a primary route forming part of a ring road.
What information would be shown in a triangular road sign?
Triangular road signs warn us of upcoming dangers and hazards such as crossroads, T-junctions or roundabouts.
Which sign means pedestrians are walking along the road?
The sign is triangular with a red boarder and shows an adult and child holding hands.
What does ford mean on a road sign?
A ford is a shallow waterway that allows you to drive through it. Quite often during periods of winter or heavy rain the water levels can rise and may become hazardous for some vehicles to drive though. The ford signs are placed to warn you of this.
What do gradient road signs mean?
Gradient road signs are used to warn drivers of either a steep incline or steep decline in the road.
Whilst warning signs are mostly triangular there are a few additional road warning signs that are different shapes, including:
Informational Road Signs
Information signs are all rectangular and used to give drivers advanced notice of upcoming changes.
Which sign means no through road?
The no through road sign is rectangular with a blue background. The shape in the centre has a red horizontal line and a white vertical line. It is designed to indicate the road is a dead end.
What do brown road signs mean?
Brown road signs are again informational, used for tourist information to indicate places of interest to visitors.
Other informational signs include:
We have already discussed green and blue rectangular road signs but the third colour you may notice is a white background with a black boarder. These signs are used to give directions on non-primary routes or in conjunction with warning and regulatory signs to provide further information.
What road signs give orders?
Circular road signs are designed to give orders. If the road sign has a red border this is an indication of what you should not do, if you do not follow prohibitive signs then you could be prosecuted for breaking the law, for example speed limit signs, no entry and no overtaking signs.
Blue circular road signs offer positive instructions.
Other circular road signs include the national speed limit applies sign:
The stop sign is octagonal to differentiate it from other road traffic signs giving greater importance.
What road sign is blue with red cross?
The no stopping sign is a red cross on a blue background and lets drivers know that you are not allowed to stop even for dropping off or picking up passengers.
There are some instances of restrictions being limited to certain times of day. This is indicated by a small rectangular sign underneath the no stopping sign, letting you know the times where stopping is okay.
The no stopping sign is quite often confused with the no waiting sign which has a single line rather than a cross.
Which road sign means no entry?
The no entry sign is a red circle with a horizontal white stripe through the centre. It indicates that all types of motor vehicles are prohibited from entering the road.
What is the colour of road work signs?
Road work signs vary in colour depending on their aim. Many of them are yellow to indicate temporary changes such as closed lanes and temporary speed limits.
If there are hazards due to the road works you will see red warnings within the sign or a sign with a red boarder.
Studying the signs
It’s essential you know the meanings behind every traffic sign to keep you and other road users safe on the roads.
To recap, circles give orders, triangles warn, and rectangles inform. Make sure you stay up to date and top up your road sign knowledge from time to time. To read more, check of the Department of Transport Know Your Traffic Signs manual.
Our UK speed limits and fines article explains more about the penalties you could face if you don't adhere to the speed limit signs.