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(Quiz) Do You Know Your Road Signs?

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Quick: What does a blue road sign mean?

Not sure? You’re not alone. But deciphering signs—quickly—is essential to your safety.

Fortunately, the research designers understand this. “A good sign must be comprehensible at a glance,” says M. Pronin, a member of the International Road Sign Comprehension Evaluation Project (yes, there is one). Given that road signs can incorporate words, symbols, specific colors—or any combination of these, they can be confusing. More concerning, some drivers don’t know what certain road signs mean, or they might misinterpret them, which can be dangerous.

“Signs with more than an 80 percent level of comprehension are considered very well understood, but testing reveals even the most ‘obvious’ signs rarely score 100 percent comprehension,” says Pronin.

How road-sign savvy are you? Take the quiz to find out.

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  1. Question 1 of 9
    1. Question

    You see a blue-colored road sign along the highway. What information could it be giving you?

     

    Correct

    Road signs are color-coded, depending on what information they convey. Blue signs, for example, are for services (not warnings). Typically a blue sign will indicate tourist information, point out nearby services—such as gas stations or hospitals—and inform drivers of evacuation routes.

    Incorrect

    Road signs are color-coded, depending on what information they convey. Blue signs, for example, are for services (not warnings). Typically a blue sign will indicate tourist information, point out nearby services—such as gas stations or hospitals—and inform drivers of evacuation routes.

  2. Question 2 of 9
    2. Question

    Let’s try an easy one. Every driver should recognize this sign. What does it require you to do?

     

    Correct

    State laws require that you make a complete stop at the white limit line painted on the road—or before entering the intersection, if there is no line. And no, a rolling “stop” or a pause does not equal a stop. “If even 1 percent of drivers do not understand that a stop sign means come to a total stop, that lack of understanding equals crash potential,” says Pronin.

    Incorrect

    State laws require that you make a complete stop at the white limit line painted on the road—or before entering the intersection, if there is no line. And no, a rolling “stop” or a pause does not equal a stop. “If even 1 percent of drivers do not understand that a stop sign means come to a total stop, that lack of understanding equals crash potential,” says Pronin.

  3. Question 3 of 9
    3. Question

    Road signs also convey information with their shape. Which shape tells you that you are approaching a school zone?

    A:  B:   C: 

    Correct

    A pentagon-shaped sign indicates an upcoming school zone, where children may be crossing the road and the speed limit may be reduced. An arrow below this sign means the crossing line is here. The diamond shape is used only for warning signs, with one exception—the pentagonal school sign. Square or rectangular white signs with red and/or black inform you of traffic regulations, such as speed limits or U-turn prohibitions.

    Incorrect

    A pentagon-shaped sign indicates an upcoming school zone, where children may be crossing the road and the speed limit may be reduced. An arrow below this sign means the crossing line is here. The diamond shape is used only for warning signs, with one exception—the pentagonal school sign. Square or rectangular white signs with red and/or black inform you of traffic regulations, such as speed limits or U-turn prohibitions.

  4. Question 4 of 9
    4. Question

    True or false? As you’re leaving the school zone, you see a faster speed limit sign ahead. You can accelerate right away.

     

    Correct

    “The regulation is that the speed limit changes at the sign’s location, not at the point where drivers are able to see the sign,” says Pronin.

    Incorrect

    “The regulation is that the speed limit changes at the sign’s location, not at the point where drivers are able to see the sign,” says Pronin.

  5. Question 5 of 9
    5. Question

    You spot this sign on a country road. What is it telling you?

    Correct

    Like all yellow road signs—color-coding at work!—it’s a warning. In this case, the sign is letting you know the road may be slippery when wet. If a warning sign ever seems hard to interpret, says Pronin, the best idea is to slow down and be extra aware of your surroundings and of the reactions of other drivers.

    Incorrect

    Like all yellow road signs—color-coding at work!—it’s a warning. In this case, the sign is letting you know the road may be slippery when wet. If a warning sign ever seems hard to interpret, says Pronin, the best idea is to slow down and be extra aware of your surroundings and of the reactions of other drivers.

  6. Question 6 of 9
    6. Question

    What is this sign telling you?

    Correct

    As we saw in the last question, yellow road signs warn you about road conditions, alert you to potential crossings by animals or machinery, and other dangers. If you see this sign, expect a sharp right and slow your pace accordingly. (Note: Signs warning of vulnerable road users—children, pedestrians, bicyclists—may now also be seen in fluorescent green.)

    Incorrect

    As we saw in the last question, yellow road signs warn you about road conditions, alert you to potential crossings by animals or machinery, and other dangers. If you see this sign, expect a sharp right and slow your pace accordingly. (Note: Signs warning of vulnerable road users—children, pedestrians, bicyclists—may now also be seen in fluorescent green.)

  7. Question 7 of 9
    7. Question

    Which sign would be orange?

    A:  B:  C: 

    Correct

    Orange signs indicate temporary conditions. You might see signs letting you know workers are on the roadway, telling you about reduced speed limits or directing you to detours.

    Incorrect

    Orange signs indicate temporary conditions. You might see signs letting you know workers are on the roadway, telling you about reduced speed limits or directing you to detours.

  8. Question 8 of 9
    8. Question

    This sign lets you know how to prepare for an upcoming change on the road. What is it?

     

    Correct

    Get ready to circulate! A one-way, circular intersection—variously called a traffic circle, rotary or roundabout—is coming up when you see this sign. At some circular intersections, you must obey traffic signals and stop or yield according to signs that control access to the intersection. In their absence, you should yield to vehicles that are already in the circle, since they have the right of way.

    Incorrect

    Get ready to circulate! A one-way, circular intersection—variously called a traffic circle, rotary or roundabout—is coming up when you see this sign. At some circular intersections, you must obey traffic signals and stop or yield according to signs that control access to the intersection. In their absence, you should yield to vehicles that are already in the circle, since they have the right of way.

  9. Question 9 of 9
    9. Question

    Which of these are actual animal crossing signs in the United States?

    A:   B:   C:   D: 

    Correct

    All of the above! While deer and cattle are common across the United States, you might spot more unusual animals—and warning signs—in some regions. Cattle still roam freely in parts of the country, Arizona lets you know when bighorn sheep might cross your path, and Florida warns drivers where one of its fewer than 100 remaining panthers might be on the prowl.

    Incorrect

    All of the above! While deer and cattle are common across the United States, you might spot more unusual animals—and warning signs—in some regions. Cattle still roam freely in parts of the country, Arizona lets you know when bighorn sheep might cross your path, and Florida warns drivers where one of its fewer than 100 remaining panthers might be on the prowl.

Read More: Find out if youre as good a driver as you think you are with this quick quiz about your skills on the road.

By Julie Russell