Understanding California Traffic Signs

California Traffic Signs

What are the different types of California road signs?

Being out on the road in California, will create many driving situations. Understanding a California road sign is important to have a safe and enjoyable driving experience. It is important to know the differences in all the road signs that you will encounter. You should know everything from what the color of the sign means to the symbol that it is seeking to represent. Often the road signs that we see around the country are in uniformity with each other so that driving from one state to another will not present any surprises. Discussing the road signs that you see everyday will make you a better driver and allow you to follow all the rules and laws associated with a California road sign.

Where Can Traffic Signs in California Find Their Origin

When you look at the history of traffic signs, you can go all the way back to the Roman Empire. As the Roman Empire was taking over the world, they began to build highways that led to Rome. The History of Street Signs explained, “At the height of the Roman Empire, the Caesars ordered the construction of 4,400-pound stone markers called milestones. These were numbered and placed at specific intervals along the 62,000 miles of Roman roads.” This was the beginning of signs directing individuals.

Next, if you look to Europe, you will find that they started to put signs on their roads directing you to certain cities. In addition to these signs, the number of miles to the city would also be posted on the signs. Now looking to America, most of the country was not concerned with traffic signs. This was especially true during the horse and carriage time period in the United States. Only after the introduction of the car, were traffic signs beginning to be erected. The stop sign was the first traffic sign to be used. This would be the start of one of the best uniform systems the country would see. California traffic signs and other traffic signs used across the country would be the same so that all people would understand every sign that they would see.

One of the first things that you will notice with a road sign today is that the majority of the signs you will see have a lack of words. The messages on a California road sign are often expressed by using a symbol. Symbols are used for the ease of understanding. While driving it could be dangerous to have road signs with a lot of words. Reading these signs could distract you from your primary purpose, operating the vehicle. No matter your primary language, understanding a symbol is universal. The symbols display the meaning of the sign, but more important than the symbol for a California road sign is the color.

The Different Meanings of Road Signs in California

Rental Traffic Control SignThe color of the sign will allow you to know what the sign is trying to tell you. The majority of road symbol signs that you will encounter in the United States will be separated into seven different colors. The different colors will signify what the sign is trying to communicate to the driver, such as:

  • Warning Signs-These signs will be yellow in color. Some examples of these signs would be a deer crossing, stop light ahead, curve in the road, and many other warning signs. Knowing that a yellow sign means warning will prepare you for what lies ahead on your drive.
  • Railroad Crossing Signs-Often these signs are yellow and white. They will show a symbol of a train or railroad tracks. If the symbol is not clear that is okay because the word railroad is usually written on these signs. Also, these signs are easily understood because they are placed close to actual railroad tracks.
  • Temporary Traffic Control Signs-These signs are always associated with road work or workers on the road. Their color will be orange. So, anytime you see an orange color you will know that there will be road work ahead. Some other examples not dealing with road work are, a closed exit, detour, and slow traffic ahead.
  • Regulatory Signs-Red and white will be on these signs. Regulatory signs are signs like, stop signs, yield, and do not enter. Pure white and black signs will also fit into this category. These are often truck weight limit, speed limit, and turning signal signs.
  • Guide Signs-Signs that are green will usually be guide signs. These signs will tell you how far cities are from your current location. They will also be exit signs to get off a highway or freeway. Signs that are not green that fall under this category will be signs indicating which highway or interstate you are on.
  • Motorist Services and Recreation Signs-Motorist service signs are usually blue and white. These signs can be seen all over the place. They will indicate where you can find gas, the hospital, food, lodging, and rest areas. If you have ever been in a national park, you will be familiar with the color of recreation signs. These signs are brown and will explain things, such as fishing areas, off road areas, bathrooms, and many other things you would expect in the national forests.
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Sign-Fluorescent green and yellow will be used for crosswalks and school zones. Bicycle signs can come in different colors. However, these are usually easily identifiable by the bike symbol on these signs.

As you can see, understanding a California road sign can be easy. You will see the same colors over and over again as you continue to drive your route. In addition to the color and symbol on the California road sign, you can also understand some of these signs by their shape.

Traffic Sign ShapesThe US Department of Transportations has said this concerning road sign shape, “Traffic regulations are conveyed in signs that are rectangular… Additional regulatory signs are octagons for stop and inverted triangles for yield. Diamond-shaped signs signify warnings. Rectangular signs with the longer direction horizontal provide guidance information. Pentagons indicate school zones. A circular sign warns of a railroad crossing.” The transportation department has made this system as simple as they can so that you can have a safe driving experience that works efficiently.

The uniformity of the system is also great for the whole country understanding these signs. Once you have gained a knowledge of these signs, you will then be able to recognize their meaning no matter where you are in the country.

How is a California road sign created?

Now that you can understand every road sign by its color, shape, and symbol, it’s time to learn how national law demands that we make them.  Getting a glimpse into the creation of these signs will give you some additional knowledge that is fun to know. The precise cuts of a California roadside come from the use of a CNC machine. These CNC machines are so precise that they create the same cuts every single time. This allows for amazing uniformity from sign to sign. Capitol Barricade has been designing and cutting out signs for the last 30 years. These CNC machines can handle any of the following materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Wood
  • Acrylic
  • PVC
  • Sign Foam
  • ChemMetal

Road signs are usually made out of aluminum. This metal is lightweight and can withstand abuse from the weather and drivers. After the correct shape is cut out, a reflective adhesive is applied to the sign containing the necessary words, shape, and color. These reflective coatings make it easy for you as a driver to see during the dark hours of the night. Headlights will illuminate the reflective coating and give you notice as to what is ahead.

Having quality signs that will last are extremely important to the safety of thousands of people on the road. It is then up to you to know and understand the road signs. The signs, although irritating to a driver at times, are necessary for ease of readability on the move and for safety. The process to create these signs is precise and allows for easy application of any adhesive material that needs to be placed on the sign.

Capitol Barricade can help you with any road sign need. They have the expertise and knowledge to create the correct road signs for you. They also have the machines and equipment to deliver the correct signs at their precise measurements. If you have questions or need some help on getting some road signs, contact us.

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