Driving Safety: Traffic Signals & Road Signs

Traffic signals are helpful to road users, providing information and help to enhance traffic safety and prevent accidents through to the control movement of vehicles and pedestrians at intersections. A good driver must know what each light means and how to proceed when faces them in any situation.

Traffic Signals

Traffic signs should be sited at the correct distance at the side of roads with a clear message, avoiding the reflection in certain zones. Driving knowledge at this point considers three standards of round lights: red, yellow and green; but many countries also use single flashing lights and colored arrows.

Basic Traffic Signals

Traffic lights are the best way to control the flow of traffic, help enhance traffic safety and prevent accidents. They use a color code standard universal: red – amber/yellow-green.

The traffic lights are installed at road intersections and pedestrian crossing, and their position could be vertical or horizontal. If they are arranged vertically, red is always on top and green on the bottom, in the other case if they are arranged horizontally, red is always on the left and green on the right. In some countries, there are timers that accompany the stop-and-go-lights.

Red light

Means you must stop and yield to pedestrians and other traffic, before crossing the marked stop line or crosswalk. While the light is red you may turn right only if there is NO TURN ON RED sign at the intersection.

Yellow light

In some traffic lights, this color is replaced by the amber color. It means a steady red light will appear soon. You must be prudent and if you are in an intersection slow down and prepare to stop; otherwise look and proceed with caution.


Means you must go straight, turn left or turn right if the road is clear. But if there are vehicles or pedestrians in the intersection, the priority must be for them.

Drivers must consider these points:

  • In addition to the flashing lights, the flashing arrows help drivers who are turning.
  • In the case of a left-pointing green arrow and green light, you could turn left, go straight or turn right from the proper line.
  • Facing a flashing green the pedestrians must not cross unless they see a pedestrian signal.
  • The left-turn green arrow showed with a red light, permit you to turn left from the left-turn lane.
  • The yellow arrow may appear after the left-turn green arrow, is a previous sign to the green light which appears for traffic in both directions. You must not start left turn, otherwise, be cautious and complete the turn.
  • The public transit vehicles have the priority in a transit priority signal face to the traffic and pedestrians. The sign on top shows a white vertical bar on a dark background.
  • Don’t be surprised when you see separate traffic lights for left-turn or right-turn and feel protected with these signals.
  • When electrical power losses occur, the traffic lights at intersections don’t work and you noticed blank traffic lights. Please yield the way to vehicles in the intersection and to vehicles entering the intersection from your right. Be prudent.
  • If you face to flashing red or yellow beacon, you must consider that color red means you must come to a complete stop and only when you are safe to move to the intersection. But if the color is yellow, drive with caution.

Pedestrian traffic signals

Some pedestrian signals integrate a countdown timer, showing the seconds remaining for the crossing phase. This guide show below some special traffic signals located at many intersections and busy roads.

Traffic Signal
Traffic Signal
These signals indicate when pedestrians may cross a roadway.
Traffic Signal
Traffic Signal
WALK: You may start crossing and you have enough time to reach the other side before the signal changes.

DON’T WALK: Don’t start to cross the street. But if you already started and are in the crosswalk, you may finish crossing safely.

Traffic Signal
Traffic Signal
Flashing red figure or flashing words “WAIT”

Don’t cross the road. If already crossing you may finish crossing

Traffic Signal
Traffic Signal
Non-flashing red figure or non-flashing words “WAIT”

Do not step out on to the road wait for the green figure or words “CROSS”

Traffic Signal
Traffic Signal
Non-flashing green figure or words “CROSS”

Start walking safely.

Road Signs

There are regulatory, warning and guide signs on the roadway. It is important to distinguish the means by color and shape. Usually, on a written driver’s license test you will answer questions regards to roadway signs.

Railway crossing sign is X-shaped with a white background and red outline. It advises that railway tracks cross the road. Watch for this signal. Slow down and look both ways for trains. Be prepared to stop.
A yield sign is a triangle with a white background and a red border. It means you must let traffic in the intersection or close to it go first. Stop if required and go only when the way is clear.
A school zone sign is five-sided and has a blue background with white symbols. It advises that you are coming to a school zone. Slow down, drive with prudence, and watch for kids.
A stop sig
n is eight-sided and has a red background with white letters. It means you must come to a complete stop. Stop at the stop line if it is marked on the roadway. If there is no stop line, stop at the crosswalk, marked or not. If there is no crosswalk, stop at the border of the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, stop at the border of the intersection. Wait until the way is clear before entering the intersection.
Means the street is an official bicycle route. Watch for cyclists and be prepared to share the street with them.
No Left Turn
Do not turn left at the intersection.
No Turn
Do not turn to go in the opposite direction. (U-turn)
No Passing
Do not pass on this road.
Railway Crossing
Railway crossing ahead. Be alert for trains. This sign also shows the angle at which the railway tracks cross the road.
Road maintenance ahead.
No Parking
Do not park in the area between the signs. This means you may not stop your automobile except to load or unload passengers or merchandise.