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The 11 Different Warning Signage Categories

October 17, 2017

Warning signs are part of the W Series list when it comes to the national MUTCD. These types of signs have a yellow background with a black font or symbols and are meant to highlight specific areas you need to pay close attention to. Here are the 10 different categories of warning signage and what each category encompasses.

Curves and Turns

These MUTCD’s W1 series signs are specifically used as warning signage that lets drivers know about curves as well as turns. Examples include:

– Reverse Curves

– Curve with Speed Advisory

– Curve

– Winding Road

– Hairpin Curve

– Truck Rollover

– Pretzel Loop

– Chevron Alignment


The second type of MUTCD warning signs are intersection signs. These relate to intersections, as well as traffic circles or segues on the road. Warning signage includes:

– T Roads

– Y Roads

– Cross Roads

– Circular Intersections

– Offset Roads

Advance Traffic Control

While most of the signs in the W series are yellow with black font or images, this is where that changes. These types of signs will specifically deal with traffic and how it should act on the roadways. Some examples of advance traffic control warning signage includes:

– Stop Ahead

– Yield Ahead

– Speed Zones

– Be Prepared To Stop

– Speed Limit Ahead

– Stop Ahead

– Traffic Signal Ahead

Lanes And Merges

You find these a lot on highways or busy traffic areas. They primarily deal let drivers know what is ahead of them on the road. This allows them to be aware of the road, to slow down, etc.

РMerge – Merge Left – Merge Right

– Lane Drop Ahead

– Right Lane Ends

– Merging Traffic

– Added Lane

– One Lane Traffic

Road Width Restrictions

The W5 series of warning signs deals with road width restrictions. Various states or locations within those states have their own rules and regulations when it comes to road width restrictions. Some other examples include:

– Narrow Bridge

– One Land Bridge

Divided Highways

These are obviously only placed on highways or byways. This is the 6th type of MUTCD signs for roads. While they wouldn’t be particularly useful for a school or business, they do make drivers more aware of the situations that will appear ahead. Primary examples of warning signage includes:

РDivided Highway – Symbols

РDivided Highway – Words

– Divided Road

– 2 Way Traffic

Hills and Grades

If you have a location where a lot of big rigs, equipment trucks, or even busses travel, these MUTCD warning signs specifically deal with hills and grades. While you may not often see these signs in flat land states, you will see them a lot in mountainous states.

Examples include:

– Steep Grade

– Steep Hill

– Steep Grade / Steep Hill Percentage

– Watch Downhill Speed

Pavement and Roadway Conditions

These MUTCD warning signs deal with the road that the driver is on. Whether it’s because of the road itself, an environmental factor, or because of the changing weather, these signs all deal with asphalt and roadway issues. They include:

– Rumble Strips

– Rough Road

РBump – Bumps

– Bridge May Be Slippery

– Bike Lane Slippery When Wet

Lane Transitions

This type of a warning sign deals specifically with lane transitions on the roadways. There are 3 simple signs in this MUTCD category.

– Right Lane Ends

– Left Lane Ends

– Lane Ends, Merge Left

Rail and Light Rail

This warning sign in this category deals with rail and light rail – trains, train crossings, train roadway conditions, etc. Examples include:

– Trains May Exceed X MPH

– Light Rail Crossing

– Low Ground Clearance

– Railroad

– Do Not Stop On Tracks

– Skewed Railroad Crossing

Advance Warnings and Crossings

The very last category in warning signs deals with advance warnings and crossings. The MUTCD warning signs in this category can either be the synonymous yellow background with black lettering or black symbols OR in some states they allow fluorescent green backgrounds. The fluorescent green signs tend to deal more with crossings rather than advanced warnings. These signs in this category include:

– Emergency Vehicles

– Children

– Bicycles

– Vehicles

– Pedestrians, Transit, and Aviation

If you are a business, school or another type of organization and you need warning signs for your area, call Zumar at our Arizona, California, or Washington location.

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