Abdul Latif Jameel for Oils

Traffic signs and their meanings: shapes, colors, and pictures


We know that it is difficult to remember all the traffic signs and road signs together. But it is very important to know the traffic signs! Road traffic signs are an essential part of driving. Understanding different shapes, colors, and images will help you make safe decisions.

Today, we’ll cover everything you need to know about road traffic signs and how to decode them quickly. So let’s jump straight into it!

Types of traffic signs

There are four main forms of road signs. Each shape has its own different meaning.

  1. Circular: Circular signs usually indicate a ban or mandatory action that you will need to take soon. Circular signs can also indicate direction and distance, warn you of dangers that may be on your way, or guide you on how to move from one point to another, such as exit signs.
  2. Rectangular or square: rectangular traffic signs are used to indicate different types of information that your trip may need, such as speed limits or places where parking is not permitted.
  3. Triangle: They usually appear on the road as warnings about dangers that may be on your way. Or the need to be careful of pedestrians and children, or what you should do in an emergency.
  4. Roundabout: It is usually circular and shows the number of lanes inside the roundabout. It also indicates the direction of traffic inside the roundabout, whether clockwise or counterclockwise.


Traffic sign colors

There are three main colors for traffic signs: red, yellow, and blue.

  1. Red: usually means you have to stop at the sign, or get a traffic violation!
  2. Yellow: This color is used for warning signs about upcoming hazards on your path.
  3. Blue: Often found on roads along with speed limits to indicate permissible speeds in different areas.


Traffic signs pictures

Pictures on the inside of traffic signs can indicate a ban, let you know what is expected of you, or even warn you of potential dangers.


  • An image with an X through it means that something is not allowed – like parking where there are no spaces available.
  • If a road sign has a picture of an exhaust, this indicates that the air on your road may be bad or have fumes.
  • Pedestrians with repeating lines mean there are pedestrians in front of you, be careful and slow down!

Now that we know what each color and image shape means. Let’s bring them together.

Let’s put it together

Simply put, combine color, shape and image to find out what the sign means.


  1. A circular red (warning) sign (orders) with the number 80 (speed) = not to exceed 80 km/h.
  2. Red triangle (double warning) with a picture of a camel = Warning: A camel may cross the road.
  3. Blue rectangular or square (information) sign (instructions) with a bicycle symbol = recommended route for cyclists.

Now you know what the different shapes of road signs mean, the meanings of their colors and images. By putting them together, you’ll be able to easily identify each sign! Not only that, but we hope this information helps you realize the joy of truly learning about these things. Do you have a favorite road sign in particular? Or you can’t decipher a certain road sign? Share it with us in the comments below!

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