The Highway Code

From
Department for Transport
Updated
, see all updates

Traffic signs

Traffic signs used, including signs giving orders, warning signs, direction signs, information signs and road works signs.

Although The Highway Code shows many of the signs commonly in use, a comprehensive explanation of our signing system is given in the Department’s booklet Know Your Traffic Signs, which is on sale at booksellers. The booklet also illustrates and explains the vast majority of signs the road user is likely to encounter.

The signs illustrated in The Highway Code are not all drawn to the same scale. In Wales, bilingual versions of some signs are used including Welsh and English versions of place names. Some older designs of signs may still be seen on the roads.

Signs giving orders

Signs with red circles are mostly prohibitive. Plates below signs qualify their message.

Entry to 20 mph zone

Entry to 20 mph zone

End of 20 mph zone

End of 20 mph zone

Maximum speed

Maximum speed

National speed limit applies

National speed limit applies

School crossing patrol

School crossing patrol

Stop and give way

Stop and give way

Give way to traffic on major road

Give way to traffic on major road

Manually operated temporary STOP and GO signs

Manually operated temporary STOP and GO signs

Manually operated temporary STOP and GO signs

Manually operated temporary STOP and GO signs

No entry for vehicular traffic

No entry for vehicular traffic

No vehicles except bicycles being pushed

No vehicles except bicycles being pushed

No cycling

No cycling

No motor vehicles

No motor vehicles

No buses (over 8 passenger seats)

No buses (over 8 passenger seats)

No overtaking

No overtaking

No towed caravans

No towed caravans

No vehicles carrying explosives

No vehicles carrying explosives

No vehicle or combination of vehicles over length shown

No vehicle or combination of vehicles over length shown

No vehicles over height shown

No vehicles over height shown

No vehicles over width shown

No vehicles over width shown

Give priority to vehicles from opposite direction

Give priority to vehicles from opposite direction

No right turn

No right turn

No left turn

No left turn

No U-turns

No U-turns

No goods vehicles over maximum gross weight shown (in tonnes) except for loading and unloading

No goods vehicles over maximum gross weight shown (in tonnes) except for loading and unloading

No vehicles over maximum gross weight shown (in tonnes)

No vehicles over maximum gross weight shown (in tonnes)

Parking restricted to permit holders

Parking restricted to permit holders

No stopping during period indicated except for buses

No stopping during period indicated except for buses

No stopping during times shown except for as long as necessary to set down or pick up passengers

No stopping during times shown except for as long as necessary to set down or pick up passengers

No waiting

No waiting

No stopping (Clearway)

No stopping (Clearway)

Signs with blue circles but no red border mostly give positive instruction.

Ahead only

Ahead only

Turn left ahead (right if symbol reversed)

Turn left ahead (right if symbol reversed)

Turn left (right if symbol reversed)

Turn left (right if symbol reversed)

Keep left (right if symbol reversed)

Keep left (right if symbol reversed)

Vehicles may pass either side to reach same destination

Vehicles may pass either side to reach same destination

Mini-roundabout (roundabout circulation - give way to vehicles from the immediate right)

Mini-roundabout (roundabout circulation - give way to vehicles from the immediate right)

Route to be used by pedal cycles only

Route to be used by pedal cycles only

Segregated pedal cycle and pedestrian route

Segregated pedal cycle and pedestrian route

Minimum speed

Minimum speed

End of minimum speed

End of minimum speed

Buses and cycles only

Buses and cycles only

Trams only

Trams only

Pedestrian crossing point over tramway

Pedestrian crossing point over tramway

One-way traffic (note: compare circular ‘Ahead only’ sign)

One-way traffic (note: compare circular ‘Ahead only’ sign)

With-flow bus and cycle lane

With-flow bus and cycle lane

Contra-flow bus lane

Contra-flow bus lane

With-flow pedal cycle lane

With-flow pedal cycle lane

Warning signs

Mostly triangular

Distance to ‘STOP’ line ahead

Distance to ‘STOP’ line ahead

Dual carriageway ends

Dual carriageway ends

Road narrows on right (left if symbol reversed)

Road narrows on right (left if symbol reversed)

Road narrows on both sides

Road narrows on both sides

Distance to ‘Give Way’ line ahead

Distance to ‘Give Way’ line ahead

Crossroads

Crossroads

Junction on bend ahead

Junction on bend ahead

T-junction with priority over vehicles from the right

T-junction with priority over vehicles from the right

Staggered junction

Staggered junction

Traffic merging from left ahead

Traffic merging from left ahead

The priority through route is indicated by the broader line.

Double bend first to left (symbol may be reversed)

Double bend first to left (symbol may be reversed)

Bend to right (or left if symbol reversed)

Bend to right (or left if symbol reversed)

Roundabout

Roundabout

Uneven road

Uneven road

Plate below some signs

Plate below some signs

Two-way traffic crosses one-way road

Two-way traffic crosses one-way road

Two-way traffic straight ahead

Two-way traffic straight ahead

Opening or swing bridge ahead

Opening or swing bridge ahead

Low-flying aircraft or sudden aircraft noise

Low-flying aircraft or sudden aircraft noise

Falling or fallen rocks

Falling or fallen rocks

Traffic signals not in use

Traffic signals not in use

Traffic signals

Traffic signals

Slippery road

Slippery road

Steep hill downwards

Steep hill downwards

Steep hill upwards

Steep hill upwards

Gradients may be shown as a ratio i.e. 20% = 1:5

Tunnel ahead

Tunnel ahead

Trams crossing ahead

Trams crossing ahead

Level crossing with barrier or gate ahead

Level crossing with barrier or gate ahead

Level crossing without barrier or gate ahead

Level crossing without barrier or gate ahead

Level crossing without barrier

Level crossing without barrier

School crossing patrol ahead (some signs have amber lights which flash when crossings are in use)

School crossing patrol ahead (some signs have amber lights which flash when crossings are in use)

Frail (or blind or disabled if shown) pedestrians likely to cross road ahead

Frail (or blind or disabled if shown) pedestrians likely to cross road ahead

Pedestrians in road ahead

Pedestrians in road ahead

Zebra crossing

Zebra crossing

Overhead electric cable; plate indicates maximum height of vehicles which can pass safely

Overhead electric cable; plate indicates maximum height of vehicles which can pass safely

Available width of headroom indicated

Available width of headroom indicated

Sharp deviation of route to left (or right if chevrons reversed)

Sharp deviation of route to left (or right if chevrons reversed)

Light signals ahead at level crossing, airfield or bridge

Light signals ahead at level crossing, airfield or bridge

Miniature warning lights at level crossings

Miniature warning lights at level crossings

Cattle

Cattle

Wild animals

Wild animals

Wild horses or ponies

Wild horses or ponies

Accompanied horses or ponies

Accompanied horses or ponies

Cycle route ahead

Cycle route ahead

Risk of ice

Risk of ice

Traffic queues likely ahead

Traffic queues likely ahead

Distance over which road humps extend

Distance over which road humps extend

Other danger; plate indicates nature of danger

Other danger; plate indicates nature of danger

Soft verges

Soft verges

Side winds

Side winds

Hump bridge

Hump bridge

Worded warning sign

Worded warning sign

Quayside or river bank

Quayside or river bank

Risk of grounding

Risk of grounding

Direction signs

Mostly rectangular

Signs on motorways - blue backgrounds

At a junction leading directly into a motorway (junction number may be shown on a black background)

At a junction leading directly into a motorway (junction number may be shown on a black background)

On approaches to junctions (junction number on black background)

On approaches to junctions (junction number on black background)

Route confirmatory sign after junction

Route confirmatory sign after junction

Downward pointing arrows mean ‘Get in lane’ The left-hand lane leads to a different destination from the other lanes.

Downward pointing arrows mean ‘Get in lane’ The left-hand lane leads to a different destination from the other lanes.

The panel with the inclined arrow indicates the destinations which can be reached by leaving the motorway at the next junction

The panel with the inclined arrow indicates the destinations which can be reached by leaving the motorway at the next junction

Signs on primary routes - green backgrounds

Blue panels indicate that the motorway starts at the junction ahead. Motorways shown in brackets can also be reached along the route indicated. White panels indicate local or non-primary routes leading from the junction ahead. Brown panels show the route to tourist attractions. The name of the junction may be shown at the top of the sign. The aircraft symbol indicates the route to an airport. A symbol may be included to warn of a hazard or restriction along that route.

On approaches to junctions

On approaches to junctions

At the junction

At the junction

Route confirmatory sign after junction

Route confirmatory sign after junction

On approaches to junctions

On approaches to junctions

On approach to a junction in Wales (bilingual)

On approach to a junction in Wales (bilingual)

Primary route forming part of a ring road

Primary route forming part of a ring road

Primary route forming part of a ring road

Primary route forming part of a ring road

Signs on non-primary and local routes - black borders

Green panels indicate that the primary route starts at the junction ahead. Route numbers on a blue background show the direction to a motorway. Route numbers on a green background show the direction to a primary route.

On approaches to junctions

On approaches to junctions

On approaches to junctions

On approaches to junctions

At the junction

At the junction

Direction to toilets with access for the disabled

Direction to toilets with access for the disabled

Other direction signs

Picnic site

Picnic site

Ancient monument in the care of English Heritage

Ancient monument in the care of English Heritage

Direction to a car park

Direction to a car park

Tourist attraction

Tourist attraction

Direction to camping and caravan site

Direction to camping and caravan site

Advisory route for lorries

Advisory route for lorries

Route for pedal cycles forming part of a network

Route for pedal cycles forming part of a network

Recommended route for pedal cycles to place shown

Recommended route for pedal cycles to place shown

Route for pedestrians

Route for pedestrians

Symbols showing emergency diversion route for motorway and other main road traffic

Symbols showing emergency diversion route for motorway and other main road traffic

Symbols showing emergency diversion route for motorway and other main road traffic

Symbols showing emergency diversion route for motorway and other main road traffic

Symbols showing emergency diversion route for motorway and other main road traffic

Symbols showing emergency diversion route for motorway and other main road traffic

Symbols showing emergency diversion route for motorway and other main road traffic

Symbols showing emergency diversion route for motorway and other main road traffic

Diversion route

Diversion route

Information signs

All rectangular

Entrance to controlled parking zone

Entrance to controlled parking zone

Entrance to congestion charging zone

Entrance to congestion charging zone

End of controlled parking zone

End of controlled parking zone

Advance warning of restriction or prohibition ahead

Advance warning of restriction or prohibition ahead

Parking place for solo motorcycles

Parking place for solo motorcycles

With-flow bus lane ahead which pedal cycles and taxis may also use

With-flow bus lane ahead which pedal cycles and taxis may also use

Lane designated for use by high occupancy vehicles (HOV) - see rule 142

Lane designated for use by high occupancy vehicles (HOV) - see rule 142

Vehicles permitted to use an HOV lane ahead

Vehicles permitted to use an HOV lane ahead

End of motorway

End of motorway

Start of motorway and point from which motorway regulations apply

Start of motorway and point from which motorway regulations apply

Appropriate traffic lanes at junction ahead

Appropriate traffic lanes at junction ahead

Traffic on the main carriageway coming from right has priority over joining traffic

Traffic on the main carriageway coming from right has priority over joining traffic

Additional traffic joining from left ahead. Traffic on main carriageway has priority over joining traffic from right hand lane of slip road

Additional traffic joining from left ahead. Traffic on main carriageway has priority over joining traffic from right hand lane of slip road

Traffic in right hand lane of slip road joining the main carriageway has priority over left hand lane

Traffic in right hand lane of slip road joining the main carriageway has priority over left hand lane

‘Countdown’ markers at exit from motorway (each bar represents 100 yards to the exit). Green-backed markers may be used on primary routes and white-backed markers with black bars on other routes. At approaches to concealed level crossings white-backed markers with red bars may be used. Although these will be erected at equal distances the bars do not represent 100 yard intervals.

‘Countdown’ markers at exit from motorway (each bar represents 100 yards to the exit). Green-backed markers may be used on primary routes and white-backed markers with black bars on other routes. At approaches to concealed level crossings white-backed markers with red bars may be used. Although these will be erected at equal distances the bars do not represent 100 yard intervals.

Motorway service area sign showing the operator’s name

Motorway service area sign showing the operator’s name

Traffic has priority over oncoming vehicles

Traffic has priority over oncoming vehicles

Hospital ahead with Accident and Emergency facilities

Hospital ahead with Accident and Emergency facilities

Tourist information point

Tourist information point

No through road for vehicles

No through road for vehicles

Recommended route for pedal cycles

Recommended route for pedal cycles

Home Zone Entry

Home Zone Entry

Area in which cameras are used to enforce traffic regulations

Area in which cameras are used to enforce traffic regulations

Bus lane on road at junction ahead

Bus lane on road at junction ahead

Road works signs

Road works

Road works

Loose chippings

Loose chippings

Temporary hazard at road works

Temporary hazard at road works

Temporary lane closure (the number and position of arrows and red bars may be varied according to lanes open and closed)

Temporary lane closure (the number and position of arrows and red bars may be varied according to lanes open and closed)

Slow-moving or stationary works vehicle blocking a traffic lane. Pass in the direction shown by the arrow.

Slow-moving or stationary works vehicle blocking a traffic lane. Pass in the direction shown by the arrow.

Mandatory speed limit ahead

Mandatory speed limit ahead

Road works 1 mile ahead

Road works 1 mile ahead

End of road works and any temporary restrictions including speed limits

End of road works and any temporary restrictions including speed limits

Signs used on the back of slow-moving or stationary vehicles warning of a lane closed ahead by a works vehicle. There are no cones on the road.

Signs used on the back of slow-moving or stationary vehicles warning of a lane closed ahead by a works vehicle. There are no cones on the road.

Signs used on the back of slow-moving or stationary vehicles warning of a lane closed ahead by a works vehicle. There are no cones on the road.

Signs used on the back of slow-moving or stationary vehicles warning of a lane closed ahead by a works vehicle. There are no cones on the road.

Lane restrictions at road works ahead

Lane restrictions at road works ahead

One lane crossover at contraflow road works

One lane crossover at contraflow road works