This site uses cookies to deliver a better experience.


What Are Traffic Warning Signs?

Friday April 17, 2020

From the East Coast to the West Coast, you'll find traffic warning signs scattered alongside all major roads. Not to be confused with regulatory or guide signs, they live up to their namesake by "warning" motorists and other road users about a potential hazard. Even if you've seen a warning sign before -- which you probably have -- there are some things you might not know about them.

The Basics of Traffic Warning Signs

Governed by the specifications described in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), a warning sign is a type of traffic sign informs motorists, cyclists and pedestrians about a potential hazard. Maybe the road suddenly curves, or perhaps it transitions from two lanes into a single lane. Regardless, warning signs help motorists and road users identify potential hazards that could otherwise cause injury. They are typically installed shortly before a potential hazard, so when a road user sees a warning sign, he or she can take the necessary action to avoid it.

Some of the most common types of warning signs used in the United States include the following:

  • Turn
  • Curve
  • Winding road
  • Stop ahead
  • Yield ahead
  • Traffic signal ahead
  • Speed limit ahead
  • Road may flood
  • Single lane
  • Lane drop ahead
  • One-lane bridge ahead

Diamond Shape

Although there are a few exceptions, most warning signs are designed in the shape of a diamond. In comparison, most regulatory signs -- except for the stop sign, which is shaped like an octagon -- are shaped like a rectangle. Their distinct triangular shape makes them stand out on the road. When a motorist comes across a warning sign, he or she will likely immediately identify it thanks to its diamond shape. Warning signs are the only type of traffic signs that feature a diamond shape.

Yellow Background With Black Lettering

In addition to a diamond shape, most traffic warning signs have a yellow background with black lettering. Black on yellow, of course, is a contrasting color scheme that's highly visible. Whether day or night, motorists can easily spot a warning sign with its black-on-yellow color scheme.

Construction-related warning signs, however, feature an orange background rather than a yellow background. They still have the same black lettering, but it's placed on a fluorescent orange background. Construction-related warning signs are used in work zones. They include signs such as "Road Closed Ahead," "Road Work Next 5 Miles" and "Detour."


About Forsite:

Welcome to Forsite! You’ve found your best source custom street signs and community wayfinding signs. We manufacture and install upscale site amenities throughout the United States.

Forsite can provide all of your signage needs for your Master Planned Community or  Residential Development. We help our customers to create a uniform, upscale appearance and increase property values by "bundling" themed packages of decorative street signage, mailboxes, post and wall mounted lighting, and wayfinding signage

You can count on the experts at Forsite to help improve the quality of your community today. Contact us today to get started by talking to one of our experienced team members at 855-537-0200.