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Everything That You Need to Know about Road Signs

stop sign

The main thing that beginner drivers tend to struggle with is road signs. Driving is already quite tricky when you’re starting out and having a poor understanding of the signs that you encounter on the road will make things infinitely more difficult. This is why we thought it would be useful to put together a brief article on this subject. If this is something that you’re interested in learning more about, read on as we break down everything you need to know about road signs.

Types of Road Signs


While there are different road signs to promote safe driving, they can be summed up into three different categories:


  1. Regulatory Road Signs: Regulatory road signs provide drivers with important information about driving rules, traffic laws, and road safety protocols. While almost every regulatory sign must be followed all the time, there are a few conditional laws that are applied based on the time, location, speed, and weather. Typical examples of regulatory signs include stop signs, speed limit signs, one-way signs, and yield signs. Although traffic signs do not come in a specific shape, size, or colour,

  2. Warning Road Signs: It goes without saying but these signboards are for the driver’s alert. They let you know about possible road hazards. They give you an idea about upcoming potential traffic, pedestrian, or animal crossings. Common examples are bend ahead, roundabout ahead, slippery road conditions, etc.

  3. Guide Road Signs: Lastly, guide road signs are usually used to express location-specific information to help you identify where things are. These are usually rectangular in shape and are either green or white so that they can be read easily. The shape of these signs varies depending on their use. Common examples of guide road signs are freeway entry and exit signs, parking signs, and rest stop signs.

Common Shapes of Road Signs

 The shapes of the sign also carry specific meanings. Understanding what the shapes mean will allow you to better interpret what road signs mean. Here are commonly used shapes for road signs:


  1. Octagon: Octagons are dedicated to stop signs. If you see a sign shaped like an octagon it usually means you have to make a full stop.


  1. Circles: Signs that are in the shape of a circle are usually legal orders or prohibitions.

  2. Pentagons: These signs are used to indicate school zones. They are usually brightly coloured to catch a driver’s attention.


  1. Crossbucks: Crossbucks usually indicate railway crossings. These signs mean you should stop when there is a train crossing the space.

  2. Rectangles: These signs are typically used in combination with circular or triangular signs, and they indicate the restrictions on motorbike riders. They can also warn of hazards ahead, such as hidden dips in the road.


We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to helping you gain a better understanding of road signs that you will encounter when driving. While this may seem complicated at first, everything that we’ve discussed here should give you good foundational knowledge that will be useful out on the road. Feel free to look back on this article if you need a quick refresher on this subject.

If you need further help with driving, why not try out a car driving school? At Midtown Driving School we have designed classes with the busy student in mind. We have a very flexible system of classes that allows students to take the classes in any order they wish and at their own pace.