# Theory test help for road signs

Studying for the driving theory test can be a daunting task, as a new driver it can be easy to find yourself swamped by all the different road signs you encounter as a matter of course when driving in the UK.

The best advice I can offer you is avoid trying to remember the meaning of each individual road sign, instead focus on shape and colour of the sign. The shape and colour of road signs will give you 60% of the information you will need to understand the meaning of the sign.

Below you will find a breakdown of shape and colour of road signs and their meaning,

Triangle road signs are warnings, they are giving you advanced warning of an oncoming hazards. The warning sign will have a red boarder and a picture in the centre of the sign to give the information of the potential oncoming hazard.

The example above is warning you that you are approaching a crossroad, if you look closely at the picture in the centre of the sign you can see that one part of the cross is thicker than the other, this tells you who gets the priority at this junction.

All triangle warning signs come point upwards, the only exception is the give way sign above. The give way sign in always point down, this makes the give way sign one of the most notable exceptions, the distinctive shape being recognisable even if the face is obscured by dirt or snow.

Circular road signs are basically instructions. They can come in two different colours.

Blue, Circles which is an instructing you to do something, and are generally considered a positive instruction “You must do that!” The example above is instructing you to proceed to the right.

Red, Circles are instructing you not to do something, and are generally considered a negative instruction “you can’t do that!”  The example above is a speed limit sign, and you are being instructed not to go over the speed depicted in the centre of the sign, in this case you cannot go above 30mph.

An exception is the minimum speed limit sign below.

While minimum speed limit signs are exceedingly rare, they always come in blue!

Rectangular road signs are information or directions and they come in many different colours.

Green rectangle signs give information and directions on A roads. If you look at the road sign above there are several different coloured squares on this sign, if the directions lead to a motorway the direction will head to a blue sign, if it directs you to a local area the direction will head to a white sign.

Blue rectangle signs give information and directions. On motorways they are almost always used for giving directions, the only exception is the end of motorway sign! If you see a blue rectangle sign on a non-motorway road it is giving you information only, this could be telling you of a bus lane, cycle lane or a one-way street.

White rectangle signs give information and directions on local roads. You will also find white signs being used in conjunction with other signs where more information is needed.

Brown signs give directions and information to attractions and placed of interest, from campsites, historical towns, zoos, castles even battlefields the list is endless!

Yellow signs are usually found during road works and give the driver information of how to pass the road works safely. They are also used for emergency diversion routes, which can be used if traffic needs to be diverted by the authorities in an emergency, they have a shape in the centre of a yellow rectangular sign.

Sometimes you will find small rectangular signs on lampposts dotted around, they give you information on the specific road you are on.

Some more exceptions to the basic rule

The national speed limit sign, it is a circle but its not blue or red! It is done in white with a black line going diagonally across it. The national speed limit sign supersedes any speed limit signs.

This road sign is both red and blue, always confusing! It means no waiting.

Stop signs are octagonal are one of the most notable exceptions, the distinctive shape being recognisable even if the face is obscured by dirt or snow.

Remember there are hundreds of different road signs out there, do not get bogged down trying to remember each one individually. Understanding the shape and colour makes figuring out the rest of the information much easier.

I hope this has helped and as always feel free to ask any questions you may have!

Keep driving, stay safe and I hope to see you next time.

Graeme Howard
Franchise manager
Union school of motoring
graeme@unionschoolofmotoring.co.uk