Traffic signs are divided into three basic categories: regulatory, warning, and guide signs.
The shapes and colors of signs indicate the type of information a sign will contain.
Here are commonly used traffic signs:
A red octagon (eight-sided) STOP sign means you must make a full stop before entering the intersection, crosswalk, or driving past the white stop line.
A triangular red YIELD sign means slow down, be ready to stop, and let traffic (including people walking or riding bikes) pass before you go ahead. Go only when it is safe.
A round sign tells you of an approaching railroad crossing.
A pentagon-shaped sign tells you there is a school nearby. Children are often not careful around traffic and may not understand the dangers of moving vehicles. Paying attention to these signs and slowing down can help you avoid a potentially deadly situation. Do not forget that the school speed limit in most states is 20-25 mph. Consult your state's Drivers Handbook for details.
Diamond-shaped yellow signs with black letters or symbols warn drivers of existing or possible hazards on the road.
Vertical rectangular signs tell you about important rules to follow. These are regulatory signs.
Horizontal, rectangular signs are usually guide signs showing direction or special information.