How To Identify Road Signs from Pictures

Road sign photo

There are so many kinds of road signs out there—traffic signs, street signs, parking signs, safety signs, stop signs; you name it. But then again, they are, after all, designed to protect you from dangers and accidents—the question is, would you be able to accurately identify them? There have been surveys and studies conducted wherein long-time, licensed motorists were given a test and some quizzes to find out their degree of knowledge of road signs. These tests concluded that a large number of motorists were not able to correctly identify common road signs that they regularly see on the streets everyday.

Adherence to road regulations is one of the top ways to avoid vehicular accidents, so it is of prime importance that you brush up on your skills in identifying road signs. Here are some ways to help you out:

  1. Use your common sense. Yes, sometimes it's as easy as that. Typically, pictures in road signs are designed to be very, very simple and easy to understand just by using your common sense. The most basic symbols are used, such as an arrow sign, a red diagonal sign over a picture (which means that whatever the activity being depicted on the picture is not allowed); or simple symbols (for example, the picture of a man and child walking means you have to drive slowly since a lot of pedestrians are crossing the road; a picture of a phone receiver means there is an emergency phone booth nearby). Danger signs may include a picture of a car falling into a body of water; rocks falling off from a cliff; or a car skidding out of control (refers to slippery roads).
  2. Brush up on your road sign knowledge. Admittedly, there are some road signs that may not be that easy to understand if you are not familiar with traffic symbolism. For example, you may see a road sign with a picture of two cars side-by-side; you should know that it means it's dangerous to overtake in that area; a number ranging from the 30s on an ordinary road to the high 80s on a highway is usually the maximum speed limit in that area (although the words "speed limit" would usually accompany that number); a number followed by the letter T (like 5T) is the maximum load limit, usually found over a bridge. The important thing here is to read up on your state and/or country's current road signage to make sure that you can still accurately identify them.
  3. Understand by color. A general rule is that red stop signs signify a very important warning sign (such as a red "STOP" or "WRONG WAY"; or the red diagonal line that signifies that an action cannot be done). Yellow road signs are warnings; blue road signs give information; and amber or orange road signs pertain to ongoing road and construction work. Know, however, that different countries may have some variations to these standard road signs; make sure that you research traffic rules and road signs of a particular country before you have to drive a vehicle there.
  4. Here are some funny road signs. Think road signs are all old and boring? Well, it pays to be more observant of them because you never know if you're encountering a very rare find: A funny and seemingly senseless road sign being displayed publicly. There are also hacked road signs that were definitely put there simply to entertain motorists. So be on the lookout for road signs—not only will it possibly entertain you, it just might save your life as well.

There you have it! These are just some basics on how to identify road signs from pictures. Remember, it's your duty as a responsible motorist to follow these signs—and learn to understand them. Keep on the lookout for funny signs, but be careful not to laugh your way off the road! Be safe!


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