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How to Interpret Construction and Detour Signs

November 7, 2017

Construction and detour signs are placed in order to inform drivers that a construction crew is making repairs or that other kinds of road work is in progress (i.e., repaving, new highway construction, or line painting). When you see an orange detour sign you must obey the speed limit listed on the sign (if listed) to ensure the safety of yourself, other motorists, and the construction workers.

Watch for Hazards and Obey Speed Limits

Even when hazards are not readily apparent they may still present themselves…often too late if you haven’t obeyed signage in front of you. This is why it’s important to obey detour signs and routes.

Construction and detour signs can warn you in advance about a gravel area that’s right around the bend. Sometimes a construction sign can take you through an area which has pavement that has yet to be leveled. Going too fast through can pose risks for you and other drivers or bystanders.

Check for Orange Signs and Construction Flaggers

Construction signs are usually orange but they can sometimes be yellow. Detour signs are almost always orange. When you see an orange construction sign that informs you of “uneven lanes” ahead you need to slow down. The same goes for a shoulder drop-off sign where you may have difficulty handling your vehicle if you approach a drop off too quickly.

There are special construction signs for loose gravel, machinery ahead, and fresh oil. All of these require that motorists pay special attention to their speed and the hazards they may face. Construction workers will often request flagger construction signs to indicate the presence of a construction worker who’s directing traffic in one or both directions.

Around a construction zone it’s not uncommon to also have a few detour signs to take motorists from the regular route around the construction zone itself. Detour signs are used for areas of prohibited, limited, or otherwise dangerous access. While most commonly used for construction zones, they can also be used in the event of a severe traffic accident or other emergency which would warrant police officers to set up an alternate route in order to keep everyone safe.

Cities, Schools, Construction Crews, and Even Police Might Use Detour Signs

If the highway is big enough, traffic shifts can be used instead of a detour sign in certain situations. That said, detour signs still serve an indispensable function when dealing with construction on a smaller two-lane road, around a school zone, or in most rural areas.

Some cities have started color-coding their detour signs to correspond to a particular direction. For instance, in many cities throughout Pennsylvania, a blue detour sign indicates that the detour will take the motorist north, while a red detour sign means the detour will be taking a southern route around the construction site, rerouting, or there is an emergency situation.

Detour signs can be used for everything from emergency situations to everyday applications, such as road or highway repair that you might need to make to the road or highway.

For more information about construction and detour signs Zumar at our Arizona, California, or Washington locations.

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