Depending on which resource you consult, there might be four categories of road signs used in this country, or there might be eight, or there might be more than 50. Obviously this depends on how specific you’re looking for the road sign categories to be, but for general purposes, you can assume that there are eight major categories of road signs commonly used throughout the US. Read on to find out more about them.
How Many Categories of Road Signs are There?
The categories which our country’s road signs can be broken down into will vary according to the publication you might be reading. Some sources consider that there are only four types of road sign categories, those being regulatory signs, guide signs, construction or work zone signs, and warning signs.
Regulatory signs are those which are meant to inform drivers about local laws and regulations in effect, which you would be obliged to comply with. A good example of these are Stop signs which require you to come to a complete halt at an intersection. A Yield sign will generally be red and white in color, and will be an inverted triangle in shape, and this type of sign requires that you slow down and give up right-of-way to other drivers. A Wrong Way sign is meant to prevent entry into a specific roadway, because oncoming traffic will be using the same lane you are, and going in the opposite direction.
Warning signs are generally diamond-shaped, and are usually colored yellow with black borders and black lettering or symbols. These are meant to convey the fact that there is some type of hazard up ahead which you need to be alert for. In some cases, this means a crossing might be up ahead, or you might have a school zone nearby.
Guide signs are generally white and black, green, blue and red, brown, or blue, and they will provide information such as directions to destinations, services available, road markers, landmarks or point of points of interest, and recreational facilities nearby. Construction zone signs are always orange-colored with black borders and black symbols or lettering. These are meant to alert drivers to the fact that construction is taking place in the immediate area, and that you should proceed with caution, being alert to the possibility of debris in the road as well as workers being active nearby.
In some cases, these signs are used to inform drivers about detours, or to inform them of temporary road crossings for sporting events or other major gatherings. Some sources refine the category breakdowns to include eight separate categories, those being regulatory, warning, guide, services, construction, recreation, school zone, and incident management types of signs.
There are no additional signs included in these eight categories, it’s just that the categories themselves are more specific and carry tighter relationships between each other. For instance, school zone signs have an entire category to themselves, because they’re so important for maintaining safety in the areas around educational facilities.
Recreational signs also have their own category in this scheme, because so many drivers are helped by the information contained on these signs, which help guide them to important destinations and vacationing sites. Even though road signs themselves are uniform throughout this country and are mandated by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, that doesn’t mean that the categories of these signs are likewise uniform.
As an example, the single category which includes regulatory signs, is sometimes broken down into 16 separate categories of regulatory signs, all of which include a number of specific signs relative to that category. While this might seem excessive, it can still be a very convenient breakdown of categories when it’s necessary to discuss each individual type.
Most other categories do not lend themselves to that kind of further sub-category breakdown, for instance school zone signs. There are several different types of school zone signs, but all of them fall within the same general category. Some sources break down the broad heading of warning signs into as many as 25 different sub-categories, although this approach also takes in construction zone signs which are considered to be warning signs in the broadest sense.
Guide signs is another major category which is subject to further breakdown, because there are so many different types of guide signs in use on roadways. Generally speaking, it is most practical to refer to the nation’s road signs in terms of the eight general categories which they belong to, unless you have a need to become much more specific. In those cases, you might well be interested in referring to some of the more specific subcategories within the major headings.
Purchase MUTCD-Certified Road Signs
Whatever category of road sign you may be interested in, you can rely on the fact that we will have it in stock here at Worksafe Traffic Control Industries, or that we can quickly design and customize whatever you need. Contact us today with your requirements for traffic control devices, standard highway signs, supporting hardware, or any accessories you might need. We’ll have your order on its way as quickly as possible, so you can maintain safe traffic flow in your community.