Are We There Yet? 6 Navigational Road Signs You Must Be Familiar With


Whether you rely on road maps or GPS devices to find your way while driving, it is essential to be familiar with common U.S. navigational road signs.

Understanding how to identify navigational road signs will enable you to match your directions with your actual location. In the event that you do not have a map or navigational device, you can use road signs to find your way.

American roadways are dotted with millions or road signs, most of which serve navigational purposes. Review the following list of common types of road signs so that you can make sense of these colorful pieces of metal.

How To Understand and Use Navigational Road Signs

  1. 1

    Mile Markers

    mile marker
    Mile markers shows you which direction you’re going. On most interstates, mile marker numbers begin at the south or west state lines

    These often ignored road signs appear on major highways and interstate highways and inform drivers of the numerical distance in which they are located on the highway. Mile markers appear as small, rectangular green signs with white numbers. Mile markers are especially useful in determining your precise location on desolate stretches of road. For example, by paying attention to mile markers, you will be able to inform a tow truck driver that you are stalled on the fifty-eighth mile of a particular roadway.

  2. 2

    Street Signs

    street sign
    The theft of street signage is treated like any other theft with respect to prosecution and sentencing

    Sometimes missing or stolen, street signs are long rectangular signs positioned at the top of eight to ten foot polls at the ends of streets. These signs inform drivers of road names.

  3. 3

    Highway and interstate shields

    interstate highway sign
    Those iconic interstate highway shields allow reasonable assumptions of road quality

    Particular types of highways have particular shaped shields. State highways always appear as white shields outlined in black with the corresponding highway number in black in the middle of the shield. Interstate highways also appear in the shape of a shield but are blue outlined with red and the corresponding interstate number is shown in the middle in white. An array of these signs often appears at major intersections. Above each will be listed the direction of that interstate (north, south, east, or west) and below will appear an arrow informing driving which way they need to turn to continue on that particular route.

  4. 4

    Distance signs

    distance signs
    Distance signs can help you immensely when your navigation is down

    These large green billboard-like signs appear along side major highways and interstates. They list upcoming destinations and the distance to each. These signs are useful in calculating fueling stops, rest stops, and for matching your location to your map or GPS directions.

  5. 5

    Pentagon-shaped school signs

    school zone
    School zones usually have a reduced speed limit during certain hours

    When you see school-crossing signs, make sure to immediately reduce your speed. If you are in a hurry, it might be best to choose a different route during early morning or mid-afternoon hours to prevent delays.

  6. 6

    Bright orange triangles

    rear facing seat
    Mind that fines double in work zones when workers are present

    These signs indicate areas where road work is occurring. These signs have black markings, sometimes indicating the presence of a flag person, a double fine zone, or rough surfaces. These orange construction signs may also affect your route because they can indicate detours.

The importance of noticing and reading navigational road signs is often underestimated by drivers.

These signs are put in place for your benefit, not as decorations. Use them!

1- things you should do before your driving knowledge exam

FREE e-Book: 10 Things You Should Do Before Your Driving Knowledge Exam

Many people get to the DMV overconfident and underprepared because they fail to do some of the simple things that would allow them to pass easily. What follows are the 10 steps that every aspiring driver should take to prepare for his or her official knowledge exam.

Up next

Only 1 in 3 Young People Can Read a Road Map. Can You?

Sure, almost all of us now have GPS systems, smartphone apps, or in-car intelligence that can provide us with directions to even the most obscure destinations. But just in case, it is nice to know how to read a map. You know, the type that is printed on paper. That is impossible to re-fold and takes up valuable space in your glove-box. The kind that the gas station attendant draws on while he gives you directions. Road maps were the only way to n ...

Crossing Paths: How to Keep Yourself and Others Safe at 8 Popular Types of Intersections

The most common hazard area on the road is the intersection. Intersections are widely varied and can be confusing to experienced and inexperienced drivers alike. Whether you are driving in a big city or a small town, your path is destined to cross with someone else’s. Let’s face it, intersections can be stressful driving situations because there is often a considerable amount of activity going on: an array of navigational signs, turning lanes, mer ...

7 Effective Tips That Will Make You Feel Confident Driving Somewhere New

One of the best things about being able to drive a vehicle is the ability to go anywhere you wish. Many drivers love the adventure of taking a road trip to a new or unusual destination. Driving somewhere new requires planning, strategy, and knowledge. Here are some tips that will help make driving to an unfamiliar destination a positive and enjoyable experience. 7 Tips for an Enjoyable Road Trip1 Decide where you are going. Unless you are taki ...