Pit Stop:
How to Use Informational Road Signs to Plan Your Stops

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Most automobile safety experts suggest that drivers should take a short break every two hours. If you are travelling with family members, friends, or pets, you could very well end up making multiple pit stops on even the most modest road trips. It is important for drivers to think ahead and plan to make scheduled stops but also to be aware of upcoming locations for emergency bathroom breaks or a few minutes of fresh air for a car-sick passenger.

Informational road signs can help drivers do just that. These signs come in two types. The first type of informational road sign are put in place by state or local agencies and serve to provide drivers with official information about the road on which they are travelling and surrounding areas. Here are a few common types of official roadways and how they can be used to plan your pit stops.

Common Types of Official Roadways

  1. 1

    Upcoming destination listings

    Upcoming destination listings appear as large, square green signs with white or silver reflective writing. These signs list upcoming exits and major destinations and the distance in miles to each. These signs can be especially useful on long drives to estimate the time it will take you to reach a particular place. These listings are usually placed a short distance past the on-ramp of an exit so that incoming motorists are immediately aware of where they are in relation to nearby cities. These listing also appear on state highways but at less regular intervals. These signs are essential in determining when to make fuel stops.

  2. 2

    Lodging signs

    Lodging signs usually appear a half mile or so before an exit. These large, blue signs display a square icon for each hotel, motel, or campground available at that particular exit. Underneath each icon will appear an arrow that indicates on which side of the interstate the lodging is located and an approximate distance. These signs are put in place to help motorist who are searching for a place to stay that is conveniently located within a few miles of the interstate.

  3. 3

    Food signs

    Food signs look similar to lodging signs and often appear directly before or after them. These signs indicate all restaurants available within a short distance of the upcoming exit. The restaurants are also listed as icons with the direction and distance appearing below each. Most restaurants listed on these informational signs are fast-food joints located directly off of the interstate highway for convenience. These signs are put in place to assist motorists in locating a suitable restaurant in which to eat and take a short rest during a long trip.

  4. 4

    Fuel signs

    Fuel signs function the same as lodging and food signs. All filling stations within a short distance of the exit will be listed. Often, the availability of diesel fuel will also be indicated for drivers whose vehicles require it.

  5. 5

    Brown informational signs

    Brown informational signs indicate state and national parks, campgrounds, and cultural attractions. These signs are located prior to the exit that drivers need to take to visit the indicated attraction. These signs also indicate if camping, a picnic ground, swimming, or lodging is available there.

  6. 6

    Electronic signs

    In metropolitan areas, drivers often encounter large electronic signs positioned to the right or above the highway. These signs are regularly updated with specific information about accidents, delays, and detours. If you encounter this type of sign, it is very important to read the information it present. This information is often crucial to planning your route through the area. These signs sometimes display the current drive times to popular exits according to the traffic and weather conditions, essential data for commuters and vacationers alike.

In addition to official information road signs, drivers also encounter a wide variety of informational advertisements placed alongside popular roads. These signs range from business signs to large billboards. Be careful not to become distracted by unofficial informational signs. If you are looking for a place to rest, eat, or spend the night, or if you are trying to calculate your location, informational road signs are likely to provide you will all of the information that you need.

Andrei Zakhareuski, Driving-Tests.org Founder
Andrei is a driver with 11+ years of experience and the founder of Driving-Tests.org.

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