You might think it’s as simple as red, yellow, and green lights as a new driver when studying all the California road signs drivers must understand. If this is how you go into your exam, however, it will likely lead to failure when sitting in for your test. As a new driver in California, you must understand the types of traffic signs, their meanings, color coordination, and where you’ll possibly find them.
Understanding California Road Signs: Colors and Traffic
California utilizes Caltrans as a “traffic manual” in developing road signs that are safe, clean in appearance, and discernible for drivers. So, what are the colors, designs, and different steps taken in designing California road signs? Let’s review take a look at some of the colors drivers should be familiar with before getting behind the wheel.
Red almost always indicates you’re going to make a complete stop! It’s a signal for you to stop or a warning of oncoming traffic approaching you. Yellow is a general warning for drivers. Green indicates drivers can proceed in the direction they are traveling. Other colors include:
- Signs with white background and black letters/symbols inform drivers of speed limits and other road-regulations.
- Brown signs reference a nearby recreation point, such as a state park.
- Orange signs indicate construction or road maintenance are ahead.
- Blue signs indicate information materials or assistance for drivers.
What do the Shapes Mean?
Not all California road signs are the same shape. In fact, there are several variations of road signs you’ll encounter.
Most people know an octagon indicates a stop, or that an upside-down triangle means drivers are approaching an area where they need to yield to pedestrians. Other common shapes include:
- A rounded traffic sign indicates a railroad crossing ahead.
- Diamond street signs indicate possible hazards lie ahead.
- A pentagon-shaped sign indicates an oncoming school zone.
- Squared-signs indicate drivers must follow instructions. For example, “Do Not Enter” signs indicate drivers can’t enter a segment of the road they’re driving on.
Yellow warning signs also indicate hazards including roads might be slippery when wet, bicycle traffic, or warning drivers to remain a safe distance from school buses which are loading and unloading kids.
There are also regulatory signs drivers should familiarize themselves with when preparing for their written exam.
Many regulatory signs are self-explanatory. For example, this sign informs drivers one-way roads will become two-way roads ahead.
Regulatory signs aren’t always white and black. The road sign below informs drivers it is illegal for them to make a U-turn on the street they’re driving on.
Other common regulatory signs include:
- Speed limit postings informing drivers how quickly they can drive.
- Emergency parking signs.
- Do-not-pass signs.
Guide Signs for Drivers
Many road signs in California are intended to serve as a guide for drivers. For instances, there are some signs that point toward local landmarks – like airports, activity centers, and rest areas. Another example of “guide signs” are exit signs along a highway.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
According to a 2008 fatality crash report by government licensing agencies, teen drivers were responsible for most fatal accidents in the state. The above fact is just another reason why drivers must prepare for their driving exam, and understand the meanings of street signs and regulations, to minimize the possibility of being involved in an accident.
Although these aren’t the only California road signs you need to know, they are many of the common signs you’ll encounter on your driving exam, and once you’re ready to get behind the wheel after passing your exam. New drivers must remain focused, pay attention to the road, and create a safer environment for yourself, and all other drivers!
* If you’re reading this post, you’re likely in need of a little study help. We’ve got you covered! Whether you’re interested in online traffic school , California drivers ed , or behind-the-wheel driving lessons , our range of courses and programs will prepare you to confidently navigate California’s busy roadways, regardless of age or skill level. *
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