PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — We see them every time we are on a highway or road: traffic signs. But did you know that PennDOT categorizes these signs?

According to PennDOT, signs are divided into three categories. They are regulatory, warning, and guide signs. Each category of signs tends to have different shapes and colors.

Regulatory Signs

These signs are created according to the laws of the road. They tell drivers what you must do, and what you must not do.

Most of these signs have to deal with speed limits, parking restrictions, direction of traffic, and turning restrictions, which are just a few examples. If drivers do not follow regulatory signs, you can be fined and even receive points on your driving record, since you are breaking the law.

These signs tend to be black or white in the shape of vertical rectangles, circles, or squares, such as the speed limit, and do not enter signs. Some other regulatory signs are colored black, white, and red and some are just white and red, such as the octagon-shaped stop sign.

Warning Signs

These signs are created to warn drivers about road conditions on or near the road ahead. They warn about hazards or abrupt changes in the road.

These signs are posted before a condition. This way drivers have time to react and to choose how they want to respond to the condition that is ahead.

Warning signs are usually diamond or triangular-shaped with a yellow background and include black symbols or lettering. Some examples of warning signs include sharp turns, winding curves ahead, truck rollover signs, and merging traffic signs.

Road Work Signs

These signs also fall under the category of warning signs. These usually contain orange coloring, rather than yellow, and contain black lettering. These signs are placed to identify maintenance, constriction, or utility areas, where workers may be performing road work or other road-related maintenance.

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Guide Signs

These signs provide information to drivers. They can be signs to help direct you to cities and towns and show points of interest along roads and highways.

These signs can also direct you to gas stations, hotels, restaurants, and hospitals. Most of the time, these signs are horizontal rectangles. There are a few varieties that fall under the guide sign category.

Highway Signs

These signs are usually green with white lettering and are posted the same way every time. There is one advance sign, which is followed by another advance sign. The third sign is then posted at the exit. For example, there may be a sign two miles away from the exit, then one mile away, and then right at the exit. Exit numbers correspond with the mile markers, so it allows drivers to calculate distances between exits

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Service Signs

These signs are usually square or rectangular. They have white symbols on a blue background and show where the nearest hospitals, food places, gas stations, and hotels are along the highway. They often feature logos of the places they are identifying.


Tourist-Oriented Signs

These are usually square or rectangular and may be blue or brown with white lettering. These show where to go if drivers are looking for tourist attractions such as museums, historical landmarks, and national parks.

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