Traffic control signs are standardized for nationwide application. Consistent use of colors facilitates sign recognition and user response. For more information about sign color, check out the MUTCD site, or click the links below to view the Final Rule for color specifications (23 CFR 655), Docket No. FHWA-99-6190, RIN 2125-AE67, July 31, 2002.
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Yellow background, black letters and/or legend
Perhaps the most common of signs, these are normally diamond-shaped. They warn of upcoming hazards such as curves, bumps, or dead ends. They can also be rectangular, square or round.
Red background, white letters
The color red has always been used to warn of danger because it captures the driver's attention. Most common signs are Stop, Yield, Wrong Way, and Do Not Enter. The octagon is reserved for Stop signs. The triangle is for Yield. Red is sometimes used as a legend color, such as in the diagonal bar of prohibitory signs.
Blue background, white letters
Road User Services Guidance
Usually contains motorist or evacuation route information. Usually square, the blue background and white letters give guidance to those unfamiliar with local information, such as hospital, wheelchair or camping symbols.
Green background, white letters
Permitted movements, direction guidance
These rectangular signs are usually one of a kind. They give information about distance to destinations, and are usually state standard signs. Green also appears as the background color of mileposts.
Brown background, white letters
Recreational and cultural interest area guidance
In addition to serving those function son state and federal highways, brown-background signs are also used to display guide, information, and motorist services on forest development roads. Forest Service signs are reflectorized with white, but may be painted with yellow-cream letters.
Orange background, black letters
Construction and maintenance signs
Also known as temporary traffic control signs, the orange background keys the driver into temporary changes to a normal route. Usually, these signs are diamond-shaped, but can also be square or rectangular.
Black background, white letters
There are very few signs with a black background and white letters. Most regulate movements, such as One-Way arrows.
White background, red or black letters
These rectangular and square signs help regulate driversí actions for the safety of all. Perhaps the most common are the speed limit and no parking signs.
White background, green letters
These regulatory signs indicate a permissible action. Normally these signs appear in front of a post office or at the airport, where people need limited parking time.
Fluorescent yellow-green, white letters
Pedestrian and bicycle warning, school and school bus
One of the newest colors to be added to the standards list, fluorescent yellow-green is available in diamond grade sheeting only. This highly reflective sign and its unusual color catch the driver's eye in warning. The pentagon is a visual reminder to watch for children near schools.