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Road Sign Colors & Meanings

By October 22, 2018 Traffic Control Blog
road signs

The MUTCD defines road signs as a sign that gives information or instructions to motorists along roadways. The MUTCD is an acronym for the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. The MUTCD “defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel.”

Road signs themselves are part of a national standardization of color code as set forth by the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and Office of Transportation Operations. The use of color is part of the signs symbolism that allows motorists to instantly recognize the nature of the sign through the use of color variants. Overall, the use of symbols is considered to be the most universal and recognized form of road sign as it transcends language barriers and provides instant communication in regards to what to expect.

Road Sign Colors

The standard road sign colors are:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Fluorescent Pink
  • Fluorescent Yellow-Green
  • Green
  • Orange
  • Purple
  • Red
  • Yellow

Black Road Signs

Black symbolizes a regulatory road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • Restricted Lane Ahead
  • One Way
  • Left Lane Must Turn Left

Blue Road Signs

Blue symbolizes a services road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • Lodging
  • Food
  • Gas

Brown Road Signs

Brown symbolizes a recreation road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • National Forest Route Marker
  • Picnic Area
  • Boat Ramp

Fluorescent Pink  Road Signs

Fluorescent Pink symbolizes an incident management road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • Accident Ahead
  • Traffic Emergency Ahead
  • Emergency Scene Ahead

Fluorescent Yellow-Green  Road Signs

Fluorescent Yellow-Green symbolizes a pedestrian (or human presence) road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • Pedestrian Crossing
  • School Zone
  • Kids at Play

Green Road Signs

Green symbolizes a guide road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • Exit
  • Mile Marker
  • Interchange

Orange Road Signs

Orange symbolizes a temporary traffic control or construction road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • Men Working
  • Detour Ahead
  • Lane Closed Ahead

Purple Road Signs

Purple symbolizes an ETC (electronic toll collection) road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • EZ-Pass Only
  • ETC
  • FasTrak

Red Road Signs

Red symbolizes a stop or prohibited road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • Stop
  • No Parking
  • No U-Turn

Yellow Road Signs

Yellow symbolizes a warning road sign. This includes signs such as:

  • Deer Crossing
  • Merging Traffic
  • Curve Ahead
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