What Does the Double-Arrow Sign Mean?

W12-1 Double Arrow Sign

The Double-Arrow Sign

Let’s see if you can answer these two questions!

W12-1 Double Arrow
Question 1: This sign means:

  •   A. Divided highway begins.
  •   B. Pass on either side.
  •   C. Y-intersection.
  •   D. Two-way traffic.

CORRECT ANSWER: B. Traffic may pass on either side.


Question 2: You approach this sign. What must you do ahead?

  •   A. Expect oncoming traffic and drive to the right.
  •   B. Turn either left or right at the intersection ahead.
  •   C. Drive to either side of the sign.
  •   D. Be prepared to merge with traffic entering the highway.

CORRECT ANSWER: C. Drive to either side of the sign.

The Double-Arrow Sign on Your DMV Test

When you see this sign on a test, it is easy to think that the sign marks the beginning of a divided highway or indicates a road with two-way traffic. It doesn’t.

The sign is known as the Double Arrow (W12-1) sign. It is placed on or nearby an obstruction, traffic island, or gore in the roadway. It tells you that traffic may pass on either side of the obstruction.

It can be difficult to answer the question on a test, but in real life it is often obvious what the sign means, since you can clearly see the island or the obstruction.

Traffic usually rejoins after the obstruction, but it may also go in different directions.

How Many Miss the Sign on Practice Tests?

The Double-Arrow sign is mentioned in only a few State Manuals, including Massachusetts, Michigan, and Texas. In Massachusetts and Texas, about 40-50% of test takers of practice tests can’t correctly identify the Double-Arrow sign. In Michigan, 25-30% miss the sign.

Questions about the Double-Arrow sign are not very common on official DMV tests. But by knowing what this sign means, you can avoid making mistakes when you get questions about the Two-Way Traffic or Divided Highway Begins signs on your test.

 Check your knowledge of some other common road signs here: U.S. Road Signs Test – Cheat Sheet

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