Drive Safer: Understanding road signs in Wisconsin

Understanding the road signs we encounter on a daily basis is an important part of becoming a better and safer driver.
Posted at 10:12 AM, Sep 20, 2023

MILWAUKEE — Understanding the road signs we encounter on a daily basis is an important part of becoming a better and safer driver. With more than 500 federally approved road signs in use today, let's break down some of them into four distinct categories.

Regulatory Signs:

Regulatory signs typically have a red or white background with black or white lettering. These signs inform drivers of what they must or must not do, based on the law. They provide critical information regarding travel directions, speed limits, stopping requirements, parking regulations, and various other situations. Some regulatory signs have a red circle with a red slash over a symbol. These signs prohibit certain actions, i.e., no U-turn. Following these signs is important because not only can it lead to dangerous situations but it can also lead to fines and points on your driving record.

Warning Signs:

Warning Signs are typically characterized by a yellow background with black markings. Most warning signs are diamond-shaped and serve as an alert to drivers about upcoming road changes, cautionary or hazardous conditions. These signs are strategically placed to offer ample time for drivers to slow down and adapt to the impending situation. Some examples include signs for hills or downgrades, roundabouts, divided highways, and pedestrian crossings. School Crossing Signs: new signs may be fluorescent green.

Construction Signs:

Road Construction or Work Signs are vital indicators of construction zones, maintenance areas, utility work, or emergency operations ahead. Paying close attention to these signs is important for the safety of all workers on the road. These warnings include reduced speed, detours, slow-moving construction equipment and lane closures. Remember, traffic fines double in work zones.

Guide Signs:

Guide Signs are usually green or blue and serve as navigational aides. They guide you to your destination, whether through interstate signs, exit indicators, or rest area signage. Road signs are not just markers; they are our guides to safer travels. Familiarizing yourself with these categories can make you a more informed and responsible driver.