Knowing Colors & Shapes of Road Signs Helps You on the DMV Test

What Do These Road Signs Mean?

Can you tell the difference between the two road signs above? Or is there a difference?

Let’s start with the black and white road sign.

Black and white road sign with two arrows

  •   A. You approach a Y-intersection
  •   B. Be alert and prepare to change lanes
  •   C. You must turn either left or right from this lane

The first clue is in the color of the sign. Black and white road signs are regulatory. They mean you must or must not do something.

A sign that tells you that there is an intersection ahead (A) is a warning sign. Warning signs have yellow background. Same thing with signs that tell you to be prepared for something (B).

Signs that tell you to turn or go straight in an intersection (lane control signs) are regulatory (C).

Correct answer to the question above is, in other words, C. You must turn either left or right from this lane. You cannot go straight.

Same, Same but Different?

So, doesn’t the yellow sign tell you the same thing?

No, it doesn’t.

Y-intersection sign

The yellow warning sign warns you of a Y-intersection.

Intersection signs illustrate and depict the design of an intersection ahead. In this case, it tells you that the road you are on splits in two roadways ahead. You must bear either left or right.

Normally, there are no STOP signs, YIELD signs, or traffic signals at this Y-intersection.

Do you see the difference? The black and white lane control sign regulates traffic in your lane, but it doesn’t depict the design of the intersection.

The lane control sign can be placed at a T-intersection or at a normal 4-way intersection.

The reason you cannot go straight from a lane with this sign may be that the road from the opposite direction is one-way.

Basic Understanding of Colors and Shapes

A basic understanding of how colors and shapes are used on our road signs can help you a lot on your DMV test.

Yellow signs warn of possible hazards and road conditions and road signs with white or red backgrounds must be obeyed. Look for word like “must”, “don’t”, or “no” in the question or among the alternatives.

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