What Are Regulatory Signs?


Quick Answer

Regulatory signs are posted instructions available to road users advising them of certain rules to follow under specific circumstances, according to DriversEd.com. Stop, yield and speed limit signs are the most common regulatory signs. Other signs include posted notifications at parking locations, intersections, construction sites, parks, beaches and highways.

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Regulatory signs often have a white background with black or red lettering. Additional regulatory traffic signs common to drivers in the United States include no left turn, no u-turn, do not pass, keep right, do not enter, no trucks allowed, one way, roundabout, road closed, railroad crossing and no parking, notes the Manual of Traffic Signs. Some regulatory signs alert road users who are not in vehicles to traffic laws, such as pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrian riders. Examples include no pedestrian crossing, ride with traffic, no hitchhiking, sidewalk closed, cross only at crosswalks and walk on left-facing traffic.

There are several regulatory signs posted along busy highways and interstates that coordinate the traffic behavior of commercial truck drivers. Some examples include posted weight limits, dangerous terrain warnings, lane allowances and weigh station locations, according to the Manual of Traffic Signs. Regulatory signs are often posted on multi-lane highways and interstates to instruct drivers as to which lanes they are allowed to use. For example, some signs permit high-occupancy vehicles to travel in a specific lane. Some lanes in busy cities are reserved explicitly for buses and taxis. It is also common for bikes to have their own designated lane in urban areas.

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