Road signs along empty stretch of mountain road

Every club, every experience, every distinction, comes with its own special set of terminology, and driving is no exception. The driver’s license, in fact, doesn’t just indicate that someone has been granted permission to drive based on how well they operate a car, but also on how well they understand the special lingo that goes along with that responsibility. 

“Hey, I didn’t learn any special words or phrases before I took my driving test,” one might say. And yet, every traffic sign, every line on the road, and every flashing light indicates a language that must be learned in order to be a competent driver. Let’s test this theory, shall we? Picture a stop sign in your mind. Remove the words STOP from the center. If you were to approach an intersection and saw this red octagon posted on the corner without the word in white lettering, would you still know what it meant? 

See? Every good driver is just a little bilingual.

Talking the Talk

Perhaps you remember taking a test in Driver’s Ed where you had to identify blank signage and show you still understood what it meant. Why test us to know shapes and colors if we can just read what the sign says? In the end, avoiding an accident (and the subsequent car repair) is all about minding the redundancies. Even passengers in a self-driving car are still required by law to have a hand on the steering wheel and a foot over the brake pedal, just in case. 

  • Signs posted a few hundred feet from a detour
  • Lights flashing to prepare for a stop on the highway
  • A construction worker directing traffic
  • Blindspot mirrors to help drivers merge over
  • Speed limit laws

Each of these redundancies is designed to layer on top of each other to keep us safe, and each flashing bulb, painted sign, and waving hand is part of a language to communicate to us that the road ahead is closed. As drivers, we must learn to talk the talk so we can walk the walk in safety. If not, our Riverton car repair shop will see you sooner than you expected, and not on your terms.

A Quick Refresher

There are literally hundreds of different parts of this “driver’s language” that a person needs to learn, but we can spend some time here going over a few of the most essential. If you have any questions about a part of your vehicle that you’re unfamiliar with, any of our friendly Master Muffler car repair technicians would be happy to tell you more.


Did you know that each type of sign belongs to a specific category, one that uses certain colors and shapes to relay information apart from the words printed on it? Our stop sign analogy from above is a good example of this, but let’s remind ourselves of a few more.

Regulatory Signs

These signs get to use red on them to indicate the law. They are also some of the only white signs you’ll see on US roads (with the exception of a few bicycle signs). These include: 

  • Stop signs 
  • Yield signs
  • Speed limits
  • Do Not Enter
  • No Turn signs

Guide Signs

These are the typical blue and green signs seen on the freeways and are meant to direct drivers on the road. They include:

  • Exit signs
  • Mile signs
  • Interstate numbers
  • Major thoroughfare indicators

Services and Recreation

Now we get into the blue and brown signs most often seen on highways and campgrounds. These are usually bunched together to tell drivers that there is a place ahead where they can pull over. They include:

  • Camping signs
  • Car repair shop
  • Handicapped accessible areas
  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants
  • Hiking trails

Warning Signs

Likely the most frequently seen signs on the road, the yellow warning signs alert drivers to all sorts of upcoming issues that require their attention. They include:

  • Merging lanes
  • Side roads
  • Intersections
  • Sharp curves
  • Winding roads

Construction Signs

And finally, the infamous orange construction signs. It’s a good rule of thumb to remember that whenever you see an orange sign, make sure you’re following the speed limit exactly and to watch out for entrances onto construction sites, which are restricted to regular drivers. These include:

  • Flagger ahead
  • Detour
  • Road closed
  • Workers ahead
  • Slow traffic

Accidents always happen, even when drivers are doing their best to observe the redundant safety measures. Should that happen, our Riverton car repair shop is a great place to get your vehicle repaired and on the road again. Come by any time for a tune-up — the healthier your car is, the better it will perform when unplanned crises arise. 

Categories: Driving Safety

Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • electric vehicle battery component in layers

    As an EV owner, understanding your vehicle's battery is critical. From its capacity to its lifespan, and everything in between, we'll guide you through what you need to know to optimize your EV experience. So buckle up and get ready - we're about to shed some light on the electrifying world of EV batteries. What [...]

  • woman looking at her smoking engine on side of road

    If your car is running hot, it can be a sign that something’s not right with your engine. Fortunately, diagnosing the cause of an overheating engine isn't too difficult if you know what to look for and how to address it. Keep reading if you want to learn the most common issues that occur when [...]

  • red car exhaust smoking on street

    Your vehicle's exhaust system serves a critical role in managing the byproducts of the combustion process and ensuring optimal engine performance. The appearance of colored smoke from the exhaust pipe, either when stationary or accelerating, can provide valuable clues to underlying mechanical issues. What is a car exhaust? A car exhaust is a system [...]