You don't have to be a licensed driver to recognize and interpret the most common traffic signs. Anyone who has ever sat in a car on the open road can attest to the different types of signage that fly past the car windows. Some signs are self-explanatory, like those that tell you about a famous landmark or direct you to exit ramps. Other traffic signs, however, are less obvious and depict a symbol or illustration to communicate their message. Unless you recently studied for a written exam at the Department of Motor Vehicles, chances are you're a bit rusty on the finer details of a driver's education. Regardless, it's still a driver's responsibility to know the rules and laws of the road for everyone's safety. How do you measure up when it comes to knowing road rules and interpreting traffic signs? Are you a roadway warrior ready to take the best (and safest) trip on the interstate, or are you a backseat driver who could use a study session?
Joselyn wasn’t too keen on multiple choice in high school. She vividly remembers the first biology exam she passed by only the skin of her teeth, which dragged her overall average down into the embarrassingly low 90s (she doesn’t want to talk about it). After swearing off any high school or university courses that required multiple choice tests, Joselyn managed to get an English degree by sweet-talking her professors into offering only essay-style exams. Needless to say, this did not exactly endear her to her peers. This rocky start smoothed out in time, though, and after tumbling down a black quiz hole one day while putting off job hunting, Joselyn realized her hatred of all things a-b-or-c had faded and she actually enjoyed dreaming up new ideas for questions and dangerously correct-sounding answers. You won’t find her quizzes an easy ride, but Joselyn just wants to make sure you’re really testing your knowledge.
Highway directional and warning signs are supposed to catch your eye and be instantly recognizable, but did you know that the Department of Transportation uses shapes and color coding to help you make these connections? The most recognizable shape is the octagon, the universal symbol for a stop sign. No other traffic sign uses this distinct, 8-sided polygon, but others will use red when warning drivers to yield, stop, or not enter a roadway. Warning signs use a diamond shape to warn drivers of upcoming hazards or road conditions that require additional attention or caution.
These signs are usually yellow but may also be orange within a construction zone. Construction and maintenance zones exclusively use orange signage, so drivers should slow down when seeing signs in this bright hue. School zone signs are another brightly colored sign that drivers should keep an eye out for. These fluorescent yellow or green pentagon-shaped markers let you know when to slow down for children, while blue rectangle signs identify disabled person parking. Regulatory traffic signs — like guide signs, speed limit signs, recreation area identifiers, and interstate signs, are also rectangular and use black, white, green, and blue.
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