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Signs

Signs of Confusion: What Visitors to the USA Need to Know

Are you new to the USA? Now that you are here, you will find there are many things to which you may need to adjust. You may encounter many things you are not used to, food being a big one. You may also notice a different type of attitude with many Americans.  Our driving laws and the signs you may encounter on our roadways may seem confusing at first. However, with a little study along with common sense, you will be able to navigate where you want to go in no time at all.

Learning the Signs

In the United States, most road signs are uniform from state to state. When you learn the meaning of the basic signs, you can generally travel the roadways without worry. You will also need to become familiar with all the traffic laws and understand that some of them can be different from state, but in most cases, they are the same.

Road signs in the USA have certain shapes and colors that help indicate the type of sign, and therefore the traffic issue, you are about to encounter. Some, but not all, colors and shapes are combined for meaning. For example, the octagonal shape is red and it is our STOP sign. In most cases, anytime you see a red sign on the road, it means stop.

Similarly, green signs indicate that you can go, and they often provide the direction you should go, as well. Yellow signs are warning signs, letting you know that something is about to change in the road. Examples of these warnings are signs indicating a sharp incline or curve in the road. Orange signs are usually used in construction areas or places where road maintenance is taking place.

Posted regulations, such as speed limits or minimum speeds on highways are shown on black and white signs. Brown signs indicate points of interest, such as scenic outlooks, historical markers or recreational areas. Blue signs guide you to specific places. You’ll see them showing the way to nearby hospitals, airports or other places. They are there to assist you.

Shapes Have Meaning Also

Certain sign shapes carry meaning. The octagonal shape means stop, while an upside-down triangular shape means to “yield” or wait until the traffic is clear before you proceed. Diamond-shaped signs indicate possible road hazards. Pennant-shaped, or long sideways triangles, let you know that you are about to enter a no-passing zone.

You will usually find round signs at railroad crossings. School crossings or areas near schools will often have pentagon shaped signs. Travel slowly in these areas when kids are present.  Rectangular signs provide differing information depending on whether it is a vertical or a horizontal rectangle. Vertical rectangles are used for such regulatory information as speed limits. Horizontal rectangles provide guidance.

Your stay in the United States can be enjoyable, and you will find the roadways easy to travel once you learn the rules of the road. The lawyers at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., hope your stay is pleasant. We are the lawyers who care, providing residents in Englewood, Port Charlotte and North Port compassionate, effective legal counsel. If you are looking for excellence in legal representation, call us at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A.

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