DMV Signs: Understanding What Different Road Signs Mean

January 27, 2012

DMV signs are one of the items covered on the test to acquire a driver's permit or license. With knowing the DMV signs, driver's license attainment will be that much easier. To help you test your knowledge, most states offer a DMV signs practice test online or in the driver's manual.

A stop sign is a red octagonal sign that has the word "STOP" in the middle of it in white letters. This sign means a driver must completely stop the vehicle before the white limit line on the road or a crosswalk. If there's no white line or crosswalk, but there's a stop sign, you must stop at the corner.

A yield sign looks like an upside-down triangle that's yellow or white with a red border. When you see this sign, this means there can be other vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians on the road that have the right-of-way. Slow down when you see a yield sign and be ready to stop and let others pass.

Wrong Way, Do Not Enter
A sign that says "Wrong Way" or "Do Not Enter" means you'll be driving into oncoming traffic if you go that way. A "Do Not Enter" sign is a white square that has a big red circle with a big white bar in the middle; the words "Do Not Enter" are printed above and below the white line.

"Wrong Way" signs are red with white letters. These are usually seen in alley or drive ways that allow the flow of traffic to move in one direction, or on one-way streets.

U-Turn Permitted
A rectangular white sign that has a picture of an arrow making the shape of an upside-down letter U can signify a driver can make a u-turn at a street light or intersection. These are more commonly seen in states where u-turns are not permitted unless posted.

Regulatory Signs
Signs that have the red outline of a circle with a line through it resembling the "No Smoking" sign means you can't do the action indicated behind the circle. For example, when there's a circle with a line placed over an arrow pointing to the left, this means, "Left turn not permitted." 

Arrows on Signs
When you see arrows on signs, these warn about the flow of traffic. A sign with an arrow pointing up with one pointing down next to it means there's two-way traffic. A squiggle-like line with an arrow at the top of it shows the curves on the road ahead. Signs with arrows can also show the start or end of a divided highway, the addition of a lane, merging traffic, upcoming street signs, and other warnings.

Some tip to remember when it comes to DMV signs include knowing that yellow diamond-shaped signs are often warning signs and white rectangular signs have a rule that must be followed (like speed limit signs). Red signs mean that not doing what they say is against the law and can put your life in danger. The DMV places signs for the safety of everyone on the road. Knowing what they mean will help you get where you need to go safely.

Related Questions and Answers

Which Road Signs are on the Driving Permit Test?

It is impossible to tell which road signs will be on a permit test. Driving permit tests are administrated by each individual state, so the tests will differ from state to state. Each state has numerous tests, so you never know which version of the test you will receive. In general it is a good idea to study for as many road signs as possible. While the majority of the signs on the test will be the most common signs you will encounter on the road, there will be some less familiar ones thrown in as well. Being completely prepared is the best way to ensure a passing score.

Where Can I Take a Practice Road Signs Test?

It is possible to take a practice road signs test online, or at your local DMV. As drivers licenses are issued by each individual state, the policy on practice tests will vary from state to state. Most DMVs have practice booklets available at the local office, and many of them offer practice tests online at their websites. Doing a web search for practice road signs tests will bring up hundreds of sites that offer online tests. Some of these sites offer free tests, while many of them charge a fee for access.

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