Whether to alert a driver of oncoming danger or help find their way, road signs are essential for all drivers. Not only do they help keep traffic flowing, but more importantly, they help keep drivers and pedestrians safe. So, if you are a new or experienced driver, a refresher on traffic signs is always a great idea. These colourful road signs can be found on both city and rural streets across Ontario, and it can sometimes get confusing to remember what they all mean. With that in mind, here is a quick recap of the most common road signs you need to be familiar with before getting behind the wheel. 

1. Stop sign

ontario road signs - a stop signontario road signs - a warning sign

Above is a stop sign. When you see this eight-sided road sign, it means that you must come to a complete stop. Usually, there will be a line that you must stop at, but if not, stop at the edge of the sidewalk (crosswalk if there isn’t one) and continue on your way once the way is clear. The sign on the right indicates that a stop sign is approaching and you should slow down.

2. Yield sign

ontario road signs - a yield sign

When you see this sign on the road, you must let traffic in or around the upcoming intersection where this traffic sign is posted. Do stop when necessary, and proceed cautiously when the way is clear. 

3. School zone signs

ontario road signs - a school zone signontario road signs - a regulatory sign

When this road sign is visible, drivers must slow down and drive cautiously while looking out for children crossing. Occasionally, during regular school hours (as seen on the right sign), the speed limit may be lowered. Keep an eye out for flashing lights, and slow down accordingly. 

4. Parking signs

ontario road signs - a regulatory signontario road signs - a regulatory sign

Above are two examples of parking signs, both indicating parking rules in a specific area. When you see the one on the left, it will always appear in a pair or group. In these areas, you can stop temporarily just to drop someone off or unload items from the car, but you cannot park there for a prolonged period. The sign on the right, however, has a similar meaning. When that sign is visible, you can park between the two signs only in the time allotted on the parking signs. 

5. Road work signs

ontario road signs - a temporary condition signa temporary condition signa temporary condition signa temporary condition signa temporary condition sign

When you see the first sign, road work is coming up one kilometre ahead. If the third sign is present, that means road work is ahead, whereas the fourth sign means someone is controlling the traffic up ahead within the construction area. In this case, drive extra slowly and wait for their instructions on when to pass. The last sign is a reminder that speeding fines will be doubled in construction zones when workers are present.

6. Railway road sign

ontario road signs - a railway crossing sign

This sign is a railway sign. This sign is usually found near railways and is meant to indicate and warn the driver that railway tracks intersect with the road ahead. When you see this sign, be prepared to stop if there is an oncoming train. When you see these signs, proceed cautiously, preferably by slowing down and looking both ways for an oncoming train. Most times you will see flashing railway crossings to indicate a train is approaching.

7. HOV lane road signs

a high occupancy vehicle lane sign

You will see these signs beside the HOV lanes. HOV stands for High Occupancy Vehicles and applies to mainly public vehicles, such as buses or other passenger vehicles. No vehicle carrying below the number of passengers stated is allowed to use this lane and, regardless of eligibility, cannot enter the HOV lane when the solid line appears, like the sign on the right.

8. Do not enter sign

When you see this sign, it means do not enter this road.

9. Turning signs

When you see the first road sign, it means that no left turn is permitted at the intersection you approached. The second sign means U-turns (a turn to go in the opposite direction) are not allowed. The third means no right-hand turns on a red light are allowed, which means you will have to wait for the green light. Sign number four means no left-hand turns are permitted during the times and dates stated. The last sign with numbers directs drivers in their respective lanes to follow the direction they must travel. For example, drivers in the first lane must turn left, while drivers in the second may turn left or go straight. Drivers in the third lane can turn right only.

10. One-way street sign

a regulatory sign

This sign indicates that traffic is flowing in one direction only, which is commonly found on downtown streets.

For more information on road signs, visit ontario.ca. As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your auto policy, contact one of our isure brokers today.

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