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Types Of Road Traffic Signs And Their Relevance In India

TeamAckoMar 5, 2024

We are all aware of the intensity of vehicular traffic in India and its consequences, like traffic congestion and accidents. Traffic signs have been installed to overcome problems like these. They are the signs which are set up on the roads to give a heads-up to the commuters, ensuring that there is smooth movement of vehicles and pedestrians. Traffic signs are basically rules and regulations to be followed by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on the road. Following traffic signs is as important as following traffic signals. Read on to learn more about the types of road traffic signs in India.




Types of traffic signs in India

Traffic signs are mainly split into three types, each with a different shape emphasising different guidance. Here are more details.

  1. Mandatory Signs

  2. Cautionary Signs

  3. Informatory Signs

1. Mandatory Signs 

These signs are usually circular in shape and blue in colour. They depict orders to be followed, no matter what. They have been installed to let the people know that these signs cannot be ignored, and failure to act accordingly may result in issues like severe penal action, confinement and much more. Here are the different types of mandatory traffic signs in India. 

  • No Entry Sign: This sign means that no vehicles or pedestrians are allowed to enter that specific area.

  • One-Way Sign: Drivers, when they notice this sign, are expected to understand that vehicles are allowed to move only in the direction that the sign indicates.

  • Vehicles Prohibited Sign: This sign indicates that there is no entry to vehicles from both sides of the road, which applies to cyclists as well. They are installed in places where a construction or road repair is happening or where the place is reserved only for pedestrians.

  • All MVS Prohibited Sign: This sign indicates that no motor vehicles are granted access to enter that region.

  • Trucks Prohibited Sign: This sign indicates that trucks are not allowed to enter that particular area.

  • Bullock Carts and Hand Carts Prohibited Sign: This sign indicates that bullock carts and hand carts users are restricted from entering that region.

  • Bullocks Carts Prohibited Sign: Bullock carts are prohibited from entering that area.

  • Tongas Prohibited Sign: It does not allow the movement of carts drawn by horses.

  • Hand Carts Prohibited Sign: It prohibits the usage of hand-moved carts as they might disturb the easy-going traffic.

  • Cycle Prohibited Sign: This sign prohibits cyclists from arriving at places where this sign is put up.

  • Pedestrians Prohibited Sign: It restricts the mobility of people travelling on foot.

  • Right/Left Turn Prohibited Sign: The drivers are restricted from moving right or left, as per the sign indication.

  • U-turn Prohibited Sign: These signs are posted to indicate to the driver that making a U-Turn (a turn to travel in the opposite direction) at this junction is not allowed.

  • Overtaking Prohibited Sign: The drivers are advised not to overtake vehicles, usually installed in places where the road ahead cannot be viewed by the driver. Failure to abide by the rule may result in major accidents.

  • Horns Prohibited Sign: The drivers are prohibited from honking, mostly erected near hospitals and school zones.

  • No Parking Sign: It is to inform the person that vehicles are not permitted to park unless there is a need to drop someone off and are expected to leave that particular location within a few minutes.

  • No Stopping or Standing Sign: This is to indicate that vehicles are not permitted to stop or stand unless they have to drop off a person. It is crucial to know that stopping vehicles from unloading goods is also restricted. 

  • Speed Limit Sign: This sign conveys the rider/driver to follow the specified speed limit posted on the board, which will either be the maximum or minimum speed to be maintained.

  • Width Limit Sign: It is to inform the drivers that if the width of their vehicle exceeds the limit affixed on the board, they are not permitted to move in that direction. They are mostly set up, preceding a narrow road.

  • Height Limit Sign: Restriction of the movement of vehicles which are higher than the prescribed height. It is displayed with the intention of avoiding vehicles which are tall and heavy.

  • Length Limit Sign: This sign is intended for vehicles which are long and huge. They are put up for the safety of the drivers, as it might be really challenging and risky – taking even to make a turn.

  • Load Limit Sign: This sign displaces the load each vehicle can carry, usually put in places prior to a bridge or a weak road, as they might not support such weights.

  • Axle Load Limit Sign: Axle load means the weight of the axle and of the wheel and the pressure they transfer on the road along with their weight. As per this sign, there would be a limit on the weight each axle can carry.

  • Compulsory Sound Horn Sign: This is to alert the drivers to honk wherever the sign is put up, usually seen at the curves in hilly regions. 

  • Compulsory Ahead Or Turn Left/Right Sign: They are blue in colour with an arrow in it, which is either pointing to the left or right. One must act according to the sign indication and avoid taking the opposite side. For instance, if the signboard says to keep left, one has to keep moving ahead or keep to one’s left and should not move to the right. 

  • Compulsory Cycle Track Sign: It describes that this lane is meant only for cyclists, and conveyance of other vehicles is strictly prohibited.

  • Compulsory Bus Stop Sign: The bus drivers are obliged to stop wherever this sign is erected, disregarding the presence of passengers.

  • Restriction Ends Sign: This is to inform the drivers that they no longer need to abide by the restrictions that they followed priorly.

“Stop” and “Give way” signs are exceptional to the below shapes

  • Stop sign - Octagon shape

  • Give way - Inverted triangle shape

2. Cautionary Signs 

These signs are triangular in shape and predominantly yellow in colour. There are about 40 cautionary signs, and they are mostly displaced in places where utmost attention is needed to safeguard oneself and others. Here are more details of the same.

  • Right/left Hairpin Bend Sign: It means an acute bend ahead, where the vehicle has to almost take a 180-degree turn to either right or left, as the sign states. They can be mostly spotted in the hilly areas to warn the driver to slow down the vehicle and to inform about the further bend/curve which has to be taken.

  • Steep Descent/Ascend Sign: This sign indicates that there is a steep elevation(ascent) / depression(descent) approaching, and the driver has to be alert to manage the speed of the vehicle, especially in the hilly areas.

  • Narrow Road Ahead Sign: Gives an indication to the driver that the road proceeds to become narrow; smaller width of the road ahead. The driver is supposed to reduce the speed of his vehicle to avoid clashes with other speeding vehicles. 

  • Falling Rocks Sign: It is a sign to warn people about the falling of rocks and debris, which might interrupt the driver's way. It is mostly put to view in the hilly and mountainous region.

  • Men At Work Sign: This sign represents that there is construction on the road ahead. It is to let people know that they are about to approach an area under repair and are expected to slow down the vehicle and proceed calmly until the road is clear.

  • Right/Left Hand Curve Sign: To indicate that the road leads to a curve on the left/right, as per the sign indication.

  • Right/ Left Reverse Bend Sign: To alert that the driver has to make a zigzag turn starting from the right/left as per the sign indication.

  • Road Widens Ahead Sign: To inform about the widening of the road ahead and the drivers must be able to handle the traffic flow thereon.

  • Narrow Bridge Ahead Sign: To caution the drivers about the bridge ahead, which is narrow to the road prior to it.

  • Slippery Road Sign: To alert the road users about the slippy roadway, caused mainly due to rain which results in excess water and oil build up on the roads. 

  • Loose Gravel Sign: They are placed with the intention to warn people about chunks of rocks and pebbles, and the driver has to slow down the vehicle to avoid mishappenings. 

  • Cycle Crossing Sign: Indicated that the road ahead of this sign is meant only for cyclists, and the drivers are prescribed to be watchful of them.  

  • Pedestrian Crossing Sign: To alert the drivers that the activity of pedestrians in such an area is to a greater extent than usual. 

  • School Ahead Sign: To warn the drivers about the school approaching and to watch out for children. 

  • Cattle Crossing Sign: To inform the drivers about the arrival of cows and other livestock.  

  • Ferry Ahead Sign: Drivers have to be cautious, as this sign is erected in places where there is a river; to indicate the existence of a ferry boat to cross them. 

  • Cross Road Ahead Sign: It informs the driver to be attentive as there will be many other roads crossing the main route further. 

  • Gap In Median Sign: To indicate that they are approaching a road divided by a median with a gap between them to make a U-turn.

  • Side Road Right Sign: It informs the driver that there is a side crossing, either left or right, as per the sign indication along with the roadway one is travelling in.

  • Y - Intersection Sign: It is to warn the driver about the three-way intersection. The driver has to be very careful as now he will have to encounter two roads.

  • T - Intersection Sign: This sign tells the drivers that there is no road to move ahead; one has to move either to the right or left.

  • Staggered Intersection Sign: The driver has to be very crucial while using these roads as there will be a turn to the right and to the left and to move ahead with the minute distance between the turns.

  • Major Road Ahead Sign: To notify the drivers that they are heading to a major road with a huge traffic flow. 

  • Round About Sign: To warn the drivers that they are reaching a traffic intersection, which is circular in shape. The drivers are supposed to travel in a circular direction rather than the usual straight way of travelling. 

  • Dangerous Dip Sign: To indicate to drivers about a huge depression in the road.

  • Rough Road Sign: To give a hint about the rough condition of roads ahead and to drive with the most care.

  • Barrier Ahead Sign: To warn about the barrier ahead and needs to stop if necessary. Example: Toll gates

  • Unguarded Level Crossing Sign: To alert the driver about the railway crossing, one has to take a move only when there is no notice of trains, as this area is not being guarded by anyone.

  • Guarded Level Crossing Sign: This indicates the railway crossing ahead, which is being guarded by a person, and to move with safety measures.

3. Informatory Signs 

These signs are rectangular in shape and mostly blue in colour. These signs are very helpful to the drivers, as they might be in need of it. These sign boards are erected to inform the commuters about the upcoming destination, medical facilities, fuel station, and other necessary information that the road user may need.

  • Public Telephone Sign: This indicates that there is a phone booth nearby.

  • Petrol Pump Sign: To go easy and to let the drivers know that they are reaching a fuel station sooner. The distance of the destination will also be mentioned along with the sign in a few places. 

  • Hospital Ahead Sign: To indicate that there is a medical facility available in that vicinity.

  • Light Refreshments Sign: A sign to let you know that there is a place nearby to satisfy your little cravings and to get awakened with a hot beverage. 

  • Flood Gauge Sign: To inform road users about the frequent occurrence of floods.

  • Resting Place Sign: To indicate the existence of a hotel, motel, lodge and similar facilities nearby.

  • First Aid Sign: To indicate safety assistance within reach in case of emergency.

  • Eating Place Sign: To inform the driver about the food facilities available.

  • No Through Road Sign: To inform the driver that there is no road ahead, a dead end.

  • No Through Side Road Sign: To inform that there are no roads on the sides which join the main driveway, which will be one of right or left.

  • Parking This Side Sign: To insist that parking is allowed only in the direction of what the board indicates. 

  • Parking Both Side Sign: Drivers are permitted to park on both sides of the sign.

  • Parking Scooter And Motorcycle Sign: To indicate that the area is meant only for the parking of scooters and motorcycles. 

  • Cycle Parking Sign: To guide the cyclist on where to park.

  • Taxi Stand Sign: This spot is for the parking of taxis until passengers board in.

  • Auto Rickshaw Stand Sign: Place where auto rickshaws are available for the public to make use of.

  • Parking Cycle Rickshaw Sign: To indicate the parking of cycle rickshaws.

Importance of Traffic Signs

This section throws light on the importance of traffic signs in India. You can refer to the points below for the same.

  •  Can be understood by the common person: There is no need to learn a special language, as signs and symbols can be effortlessly understood by everyone in just the blink of an eye. 

  • Helps in smooth movement of vehicles: There will be no chaos and confusion if the signs are displaced in the necessary places. It will guide the drivers and pedestrians about the action to be taken.

  • They prevent accidents: By paying attention to the road signs, one will know how to act and thus will not create unnecessary commotion leading to mishaps.

  • Safeguard pedestrians: Installing pedestrian walking signs will help pedestrians know the safe places to cross the roads and thus will inform the drivers to move carefully. 

  • Provides information to drivers: It informs the drivers on how to act in that particular area, be it with respect to parking, speed limit, facilities nearby, narrow roads, and many more.


To sum it up, traffic signs are displaced on the roads to inform the road users what to do and what not to do. They are also helpful as they alert drivers about the unexpected roads, curves and discomforts that they may face. Not only do they warn people about the difficulty ahead, but they also inform the driver about the vital facilities that are available in the locality. 

It is the duty of every single citizen residing in India to follow the traffic signs and signals proposed by the Government of India, and failure to do so may result in payment of heavy penalties and, in a few scenarios, may even be life-threatening.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about Traffic signs in India.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why are the traffic signs in different colours?

Traffic signs are displayed in different colours to convey different messages to road users.

What does a black and yellow traffic sign mean?

These signs signify a warning message. The signs are meant for drivers to be alert to upcoming hazards.

What will happen if I do not follow the traffic signs?

Refraining from abiding by the traffic signs may lead to traffic jams, paying huge fines, unexpected road accidents, etc.

What are the 4 Es of road safety?

The 4Es of road safety are Education, Engineering, Enforcement, and Emergency care.

Disclaimer: The information mentioned on this page is sourced from government websites and other platforms on the internet. They are subject to change depending on government notifications.


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