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What Are the Meanings of Different Road Works Signs?

To gain your driving licence, you had to pass the theory test and prove that you understood the meanings of road signs. However, as the years pass and we don’t come across a lot of those signs in our day-to-day lives, it is easy to forget the meaning of some of them. Many journeys that we take are on familiar roads: from work to home and back, to the local shops, to visit friends and family, etc – but when road works or construction sites pop up, the signs that they use can be confusing or misunderstood very easily. Here is our guide to some of the common road work signs that you might come across.

Why are road works signs used?

As with all types of road signs, signs for road works are used to promote the safety of drivers and pedestrians in the vicinity of the work. Road works and construction sites have some unique risks associated with them, from closed roads/lanes through to heavy machinery turning and accessing sites so other drivers and those on foot need to be kept apprised of the activity, the increased risks, and the best way to navigate the area.

The triangle signs

Triangular signs are used to inform drivers of hazards or new traffic control measures. The signs comprise a white background with a black pictogram (in most cases – the traffic lights sign has the three traffic light colours as well), all bordered by a thick, bold high-contrast red triangle. These signs include:

  • Temporary traffic lights
  • Loose gravel
  • Road narrows left/tight
  • Men at work
  • Flooding
  • Tree cutting
  • Surveying
  • End
  • Roadworks

The rectangle signs

Rectangular signs are used to give on-hazard-related information to drivers. There are two types here, the most common is the solid red rectangle with white writing/imagery, the second is the yellow rectangle with black writing and images. These latter ones are primarily used to display diversion information. Rectangular signs include:

  • Traffic control ahead
  • Ramp ahead
  • Road closed
  • Footpath closed
  • Pedestrians left/right
  • Diversion ends left/right
  • Caution site traffic
  • Works access
  • Works traffic left/right
  • Reduce speed now
  • Road closed access only
  • Site entrance
  • Caution lorries turning
  • Diversion starts/ends
  • Diversion left/right/ahead

The circular signs

Circular signs give specific commands, sometimes with additional information below the circle on a rectangular plate. The vast majority of circular signs are white backgrounds, with black numbering, lettering or iconography, surrounded by a thick red border. These are a common sight in everyday driving (speed limits, for example are circular signs), but less so specifically in relation to road works. Some examples of circular signs used around road work and construction sites are:

  • Speed limit
  • No entry for vehicular access (red circle with a horizontal white bar)
  • No vehicles
  • Give way for oncoming vehicles
  • No left/right turn
  • No U-turns
  • Height clearance
  • Width clearance
  • National speed limit applies (white circle with a black diagonal bar, typically used at the end of road works on motorways)Click here to know more about magazine4news.

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