Signs come in various shapes and colors – but you can’t drive anywhere without spotting at least a few yellow traffic signs. So, what makes them a common sight on roadways, big and small? Here’s what the color signifies and helps keep the streets safe.
Colors are vital to US roadway signs, especially as symbols take over from words. DOT uses three types – warm, cool, and neutral colors to convey different messages to drivers and other road users. Traffic signs are commonly in warm colors to aid visibility and grab attention. These colors create emotion and urge drivers/pedestrians to take timely action.
You’ll rarely miss a bright yellow or red sign! And that makes yellow the perfect choice to prepare you for what’s ahead. Let’s find out what different yellow traffic signs mean in the US:
Yellow = Warning
A yellow traffic sign mostly indicates a general warning. It signals what to expect so that you can take the necessary actions and proceed safely. The warning could be about curves, turns ahead on the road, or slippery surfaces. Merging traffic, intersections, and crossings are the other common warnings.
There are 47 warning signs and ten additional roadway signs that use yellow. Here are some examples:
- Turn, Curve, or Winding Road Ahead
- Intersections and Crossroads
- Side Roads and Added Lanes
- Merging Traffic
- Vehicle and Animal Crossings
- Emergency Ramp and Low Clearance
- Fire Station
- Yield and Signal Ahead
- Emergency Signals and Traffic Camera
- Two-Way Traffic and Lane Reduction
- Narrow Road and Divided Highway
- No Passing Zone
- Advisory Speed
- Slippery When Wet
- Railroad Crossing
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) has all the updated information you need to know about traffic signs and signals USDOT uses.
Fluorescent Yellow-Green Traffic Signs
US Roadways also have a few Fluorescent Yellow-Green (FYG) signs. Though some may think these are yellow traffic signs with a slight change in hue, they are different.
FYG signs generally indicate school zones and pedestrian traffic. You’ll find these diamond-shaped signs near handicapped pedestrian crossings, playgrounds, school bus stops, bicycle lanes, etc. ‘School Crossing Ahead’ are usually five-sided yellow traffic signs with an upward point on the top.
Vertical rectangle FYG signs with red accents warn drivers to stop or yield before pedestrian crossings.
Signs with Yellow Backboard
Be careful if you come across a stop or yield sign with a yellow backboard/background – there’s an accident-prone zone ahead. Know that the rectangular yellow backboard was a last resort – which means drivers weren’t paying enough attention, leading to several accidents in the area.
The yellow makes the sign more visible and could even be fluorescent/reflective to grab more attention. Take the warning seriously, as the original sign wasn’t doing its job well enough to prevent accidents.
FAQs – Yellow Traffic Signs
Get quick answers to all your queries about yellow traffic signs:
What does the yellow road sign mean?
A permanent warning to prepare you for what’s ahead on the road.
You’ll find yellow signs in areas where drivers and other road users are about to encounter unexpected hazards like slippery roads, intersections, or crossings. Yellow is also used to indicate Fire Stations, low clearance, advisory speed, etc. so that the driver can prepare for what’s coming up, stay alert, and take necessary actions.
What do the colors of traffic signs mean?
- White – Regulatory
- Red – Prohibition
- Yellow – Warning
- Green – Guide
- Blue – Services
- Orange – Construction
- Brown – Recreation
- Fluorescent Yellow-Green – School Zone
- Coral – Incident Management
Why are some street name signs yellow?
Yellow signs with black lettering have better visibility during the day and night. Streets use yellow traffic signs in pedestrian areas to improve safety and grab attention quickly.
What does a five-sided yellow traffic sign with a point at the top mean?
Pedestrian Crossing in a School Zone
The five-sided yellow traffic sign with a point at the top is usually fluorescent yellow-green to ensure drivers do not miss it.
What is the meaning of yellow arrow traffic light?
A flashing yellow arrow at intersections indicates free left turns – however, drivers must yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic before proceeding cautiously.
What are examples of yellow traffic signs?
Sharp/hairpin turn ahead, winding road ahead, Y/T intersections ahead, animal crossing ahead, merging traffic ahead, traffic signal/camera ahead, ramp/low clearance ahead, etc.
Learn More About: Traffic Signs and Their Meanings
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