DMV Road Signs & Meanings Study Guide

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Use this page to study up on some of the different road signs that may appear on your driver’s license written test.

When you’re ready, be sure to take some free road signs practice tests and study the rest of the driver’s handbook with the help of our handbook study guides and cheat sheets.

Below you’ll find a list of road signs and their meanings. Click through on some of the more common road signs to learn more about them.

Some of these street signs may show up on your driver’s license test.

Regulatory Signs

Regulatory road signs regulate the movement of traffic. They are either black and white or red and white. These signs must be obeyed.

Stop Sign: Come to a complete stop at the limit line. Yield to pedestrians, bikes, and other vehicles. Proceed when safe.

Yield Sign: Slow down to a safe speed so you can stop and yield to other traffic or pedestrians if necessary.

Wrong Way: If you continue in the direction of the sign you are heading the wrong way on the street or on-ramp.

Do Not Enter: You are heading the wrong way, you must not enter at this point.

rail tracks

Railroad Crossing with 3 Tracks: Railroad Crossing ahead with 3 tracks. Be sure you can make it all the way across before proceeding.

No Right Turn Sign: You cannot make a right turn at this intersection or onto the street ahead of the sign.

No Parking Sign: You cannot park and leave your car in the area near the sign.

disabled parking

Handicap Parking Sign: You must display a proper disabled placard or handicap plate to park in the area indicated by this sign.

emergency stopping

Emergency Stopping Only Sign: You can only stop your car here during an emergency situation such as a mechanical problem, flat tire, accident, or when instructed by a law enforcement officer.

speed limit

Speed Limit Signs: These signs set the maximum speed you can drive under normal, safe road conditions.

school zone

School Zone Speed Limit: Obey this reduced speed limit in the school zone during school hours when children are present or as indicated by the sign.

Do Not Pass Sign: You must not pass other vehicles in the area near this sign. The adjacent lanes are likely merging or ending soon and there is not enough room to safely pass.

Divided Highway/Median Sign: Traffic moving in the opposite directions is divided by a center median ahead. Keep to the right or left of the divider as indicated by the sign.

Intersection Lane Control/Turning Sign: You can only go in the directions indicated on the sign when traveling in those lanes.

One Way Street Sign: You can only travel in the direction of the arrow when making a turn onto this street.

divided highway

Divided Highway Intersection Sign: The road you are driving on intersects with a divided Highway ahead.

bike full lane

Bike May Use Full Lane Sign: A bicyclist may use the full traffic lane if needed. Allow them enough space to the sides, slow down, and increase your following distance.

No Left Turn: You cannot make a left turn onto the street ahead of this sign.

No U-Turn Sign: U-Turns are not allowed at the intersection or on the road you are on.

HOV Lane Sign: This sign indicates a carpool lane. You can only drive in this lane if your vehicle meets the HOV requirements.

keep right

Keep Right Sign: There is an upcoming barrier or divider. You must stay to the right side of it.

4-way

4-way Sign: The intersection you are approaching has traffic coming from 4 directions.

begin right turn lane

Begin Right Turn Lane: This road sign indicates where you may cross into the bike lane to enter the right turn lane.

bike lane ahead

Bike Lane Ahead: There is a bike lane adjacent to the road up ahead. Watch out for bicycles.

bike lane no parking

No Parking Bike Lane: You can not park in the area indicated by the sign because you would be blocking a bike lane.

Left Straight

Left or Straight: You can either turn left or continue straight from the lane you are in.

No Trucks

No Trucks: Large trucks and heavy vehicles are not permitted on the road where the sign is posted.

No U No Left

No U Turn or Left Turn: You cannot make a U turn or a left turn at this intersection.

Right Turn Only

Right Turn Only: You can only make a right turn from the lane you are in.

Straight Only

Straight Only: You can only go straight from the lane you are in.

yield here pedestrians

Yield Here to Pedestrians: This sign indicates where you should stop when pedestrians are crossing the street.

Shared Left Turns

Shared Left Turn Lane: The center lane is used to make left turns by traffic moving in opposite directions.

Warning Signs

Warning signs are black and yellow and are used to warn drivers of potentially hazardous conditions, indicate changes in the road, and recommend safe speeds. 

Warning signs are often shaped like 4-sided diamonds.

Sharp Turn Sign: The road ahead turns sharply in the direction indicated by the arrow, adjust your speed accordingly before you enter the turn.

curve

Curve Ahead Sign: The road ahead curves slightly in the direction indicated by the arrow, adjust your speed accordingly before you enter the curve.

Winding Road Sign: The are multiple twists/curves in the road ahead. Slow down before you enter the curves so you can take them at a safe speed.

gradual curve

Gradual Curve Sign: The are twists/curves in the road ahead as indicated by the direction of the arrow. Slow down before you enter the curves so you can take them at a safe speed.

sharp turns

Sharp Corner Sign: There is a sharp corner in the road ahead before the road continues in the same direction. Slow down so you can make the turn safely.

Sharp Turn Ahead Sign, 25 mph: The road ahead has a sharp turn in the direction indicated by the arrow. The recommended maximum speed to take the turn is 25 mph.

Exit Ramp Speed Sign: The recommended safe speed to use the exit lane is 25 mph.

Side Road (T-Intersection) Sign: There is a side road that enters the road you are traveling on. Be alert for traffic entering and exiting the side road.

diagonal side road

Angled Side Road Sign: There is a side road that enters the road you are traveling on at an angle. Be alert for traffic entering and exiting the side road.

Intersection Sign: The is an intersection of roads ahead. Be prepared to obey the traffic signs or traffic lights when you reach the intersection.

road turns left right

Road Ends/T-Road Sign: The road you are driving on is ending. You must turn left or right at the intersection.

roundabout

Traffic Circle (Roundabout) Sign: You are approaching a traffic circle, or roundabout intersection. Yield to traffic in the circle, enter when safe, and proceed to the right of the center island.

Dip Sign: There is a dip in the road ahead. Slow down to cross over it at a safe speed.

left or right

Left or Right Double Arrow Sign: The road you are traveling on does not continue, you must turn either left or right.

soft shoulder

Soft Shoulder Sign: The shoulder of the road is not paved or has loose gravel. Driving on the shoulder at an unsafe speed may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Stay on the paved roadway.

road narrows

Road Narrows Sign: The road you are driving on becomes more narrow ahead. You will have less space on the side of your vehicle between oncoming traffic and the side of the road.

either side

Lane Divider Sign: There is a physical lane divider ahead, stay in your lane to either side of the divider.

railroad crossing

Railroad Crossbuck Sign: There are railroad tracks ahead. Obey all traffic control devices, train warnings, and train operators near the crossing.

fire station

Fire Station Sign: You are near a fire station. Watch for emergency vehicles and do not block the entrances and exits of the fire station.

No Passing Zone Sign: You are entering a no passing zone. You must not pass other vehicles until you exit the no passing zone as indicated by another sign ahead.

Traffic Signal Ahead: You are approaching an intersection controlled by a traffic light. Be prepared to obey the signals.

Stop Sign Ahead: You are approaching an intersection with a stop sign. Be prepared to come to a full stop, yield the right of way to other vehicles and pedestrians, and continue when safe.

Yield Sign Ahead: You are approaching an intersection controlled by a yield sign. Be prepared to yield to other traffic and proceed when safe.

clearance

Maximum Clearance Sign: The overpass ahead has a maximum height clearance indicated by the sign. Do not continue if your vehicle is taller than the clearance height.

Two-Way Traffic Sign: Adjacent lanes of traffic move in the opposite directions and are not separated by a physical median.

Merging Traffic Sign: Traffic merges into your lane. Keep an eye out for merging vehicle and allow merging vehicles to enter safely.

lane ends

Lane Ends Sign: The lane to the left or right (as indicated by the sign) is ending. If you are in the lane that ends, you must merge. If you are in the lane that continues, be cautious of merging traffic.

divided highway

Divided Highway Begins Sign: The highway is divided by a physical median or island ahead. Stay to the right of center divider.

divided highway ends

Divided Highway Ends Sign: The physical median divider of the highway is ending. Stay in your lane and be aware of traffic moving in the opposite direction.

Downgrade Sign: There is a downgrade hill ahead. Trucks and large vehicles should slow down and shift to a lower gear.

Slippery Road Sign: The road can be slippery when wet or when it is raining. Slow down and stay in control of your vehicle.

live stock

Cattle/Livestock Sign: You are driving in an area where nearby cattle or livestock may enter or cross the roadway. Proceed with caution and listen to the instructions of the farmer or person in control of the livestock if necessary.

Deer Crossing Sign: You are driving in an area where wildlife or deer may enter and cross the road. Proceed with caution and scan the sides of the road so you have plenty of time to react.

Pedestrian Crossing Sign: Pedestrians may be crossing the street you are driving on. Yield to pedestrians crossing or starting to cross the road.

school crossing

School Crossing Sign: Children may be crossing the street to or from school. Slow down, yield to pedestrians, and proceed with caution.

bus stop ahead

School Bus Stop Sign: You are approaching a bus stop location. If the school bus has its stop arm extended and red lights flashing you must come to a complete stop.

Bike Crossing Sign: The road you are on intersects with a bicycle crossing ahead. Watch for bikes entering the roadway to cross the street.

Slow Vehicle Sign: The slow vehicle placard is placed on vehicles that travel slower than the normal speed of traffic. Give these vehicles space and only pass when safe to do so.

Dead End Sign: The road you are on ends in a dead end with no outlets for through traffic.

Narrow Bridge Sign: The road you are on crosses a narrow bridge. Be cautious of oncoming traffic.

Advisory Speed

Advisory Speed Limit: This sign shows the recommended safe speed limit to take a certain section or feature in the road.

Truck Escape Ramp

Truck Escape Ramp: This sign marks the beginning of a truck escape ramp used for runaway trucks on steep roads.

Exit Only Lane

Exit Only Lane: The lane where this sign is displayed must exit.

Farm Vehicle

Tractor Sign: You are driving in an area where you may need to share the road with slow moving farm vehicles.

hairpin turn

Hairpin Turn Sign: You are approaching a hairpin turn in the road. Slow down and proceed with caution.

Intersection in Curve

Intersection Inside Curve: The curve ahead also features an intersection. Beware of traffic entering and exiting the side street.

lane added

Lane Added Sign: There is an adjacent lane being added that moves in the same direction.

low ground clearance

Low Ground Clearance: The railroad tracks have low ground clearance. Large trucks and trailers can get stuck.

Curve Arrows

Sharp Curve Arrows: Arrows like these are placed along side a curve in the road to make sure you go the right way.

truck rollover

Truck Rollover: Trucks and large vehicles should reduce their speed around the curve or they risk rolling over.

Y Intersection

Y Intersection: You are approaching a 3-way Y intersection. Prepare to obey any traffic signals.

loop

Loop: The road makes a 270 degree circle. Reduce your speed before entering the curve.

Highway Construction & Road Maintenance Signs

Construction signs are orange and black and are placed temporarily around construction and work zones to divert traffic or alert drivers to hazards.

road work

Road Work Ahead Sign: You are approaching a work zone. Be cautious of changes in the lanes of traffic, obstructions, and workers. Slow down and be aware of any work zone speed limits.

flagger

Flagger Sign: There is a flag person directing traffic in the work zone. Obey the directions given by the flag and proceed with caution.

End Road Work

End Road Work: You’ve reached the end of the road work area.

shoulder closed

Shoulder Closed: The shoulder of the road is closed temporarily due to road work.

detour

Detour: An alternate route has been set up.

Slow Traffic

Slow Traffic Ahead: Slow down because traffic will be slowed or stopped up ahead.

Lanes Closed

Lanes Closed Ahead: Lanes of traffic have been temporarily closed up ahead. Prepare to merge.

workers

Workers in the Road: There are workers in the road. Obey all road work signs and reduced speed limits.

Information and Guide Signs

Informational signs and guide signs give drivers directions and share information.

  • Green and white signs communicate directions. 
  • Blue and white signs indicate services.
  • Brown and white signs indicate recreational areas or points of public interest.
hospital

Hospital Sign: There is a Hospital nearby or off the next exit.

gas

Gas Station Sign: There are gas stations nearby or off the next exit.

food

Food/Dining Sign: There are restaurants nearby or off the next exit.

lodging

Lodging Sign: There are hotels or motels nearby or off the next exit.

guide signs

Direction Sign: Direction signs indicate the direction and distance in miles to specific cities, states, or destinations.

mile post

Milepost Marker: Mile markers indicate your location or position on a specific roadway.

interstate

Interstate Sign: Interstate signs denote highways that pass through multiple states.

us route

US Route Sign: These indicate highways in the numbered US highway system.

Rest Area

Rest Area Sign: You are approaching a rest area.

electric vehicle charging

Electric Vehicle Charging: This sign tells you that there are charging stations for electric vehicles nearby.

Road Signs in the United States

Throughout the U.S. you can find a variety of road signs that have been standardized by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) created by the Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.

Road signs are designed with simple symbols, colors, and shapes in order to communicate important information quickly and overcome language barriers.

Traffic Sign Shapes and Colors

The shape and color of a road sign can tell you a lot about what they mean. This design feature makes it easy to recognize certain road signs from far away so you can adjust your driving and identify hazards with plenty of time.

Rectangular, square, triangle, and octagon signs are used for regulatory signs that convey traffic laws and regulations that must be obeyed.

White and red backgrounds are used for regulatory signs.

Diamond-shaped signs are used to communicate warnings of potential hazards and changes in the road.

Yellow and orange backgrounds are used for warning signs.

Special types of road signs to show information about school zones and pedestrians crossings can be fluorescent green and shaped like a pentagon.

Orange backgrounds are used for signs near work zones. 

Circular signs are used for railroads. 

Other colors you’ll see include:

  • Green signs that indicate directions and distances.
  • Blue signs for services along the route.
  • Brown signs for recreational areas and points of interest.