Traffic Signs in India: Learn its Types, Size, Importance, Road Markings and Guidelines for Road Safety

Traffic Sign

Traffic signs are common no matter if you drive a car or roam around the town. There are several marks on road signs including exclamation marks, arrows, numbers, and human drawings are all included. They are also available in an extensive range of colors, including yellow, red, and blue.

The Road Act and the Road Traffic Act specify the format, road installer categorization, installation position, and other details of road signs. Traffic signs serve as a means of controlling traffic and informing drivers and pedestrians about traffic laws, enabling them to navigate roads safely and efficiently. There have been several attempts to make it simple to follow, read, and understand.

What kinds of signs are used on roads?

Road signs are divided into five categories: instruction, regulatory, warning, guide, and auxiliary signs, which are referred to as “main signs.” Road warning, instructional, and other signs are posted; these are not the main part of the traffic sign system. Below is an explanation of each category.

Guide sign

guide signs - traffic signs
Signs list several sorts of information that drivers need to know for their convenience, like landmarks, directions, and routes to destinations, as well as municipal boundaries.

Warning sign

danger signs - traffic signs

Signs alerting drivers to potential hazards, dangerous driving situations, and other factors. A road sign warning you of potential hazards or items to be cautious about. They encourage individuals to ease down and drive carefully by displaying warning signs.

Regulatory signs

Regulatory signs
Signs that limit, restrict, or specify traffic on the road.



Instructional sign

Signs that indicate rules and give instructions to important crossings, etc.


Auxiliary sign

Signs that add to this sign’s interpretation. It primarily stands for “vehicle type,” “time,” “section,” etc.

What do signs prohibiting vehicles say?

“Vehicle entry prohibition” restricts cars from entering at a specific angle. Additional signs will specify any hours during which entry is prohibited. The phrase “vehicles are prohibited from entering” is found in the Road Traffic Act and refers to both motorized and non-motorized bicycles. It won’t be classified as a vehicle, though, if people get off their motorized bicycle or bicycle and start walking.

Colored display signs show location names, directions, and other details. Green is the primary color used in guide signs that are placed on motorways. Public roads, on the one hand, are constructed using blue. Furthermore, a growing quantity of direction signs, such as “directions,” on main highways and roads exhibit “expressway numbers.” In addition, the enhanced usage of smart ICs has made it easy to show information like “ETC only” at the entrance/exit.

How are road signs designed?

”Reflective sign boards,” which are seen when they reflect light from passing cars, and ”internally illuminated signboards,” which are seen when light is provided by LEDs or fluorescent lights integrated within the sign boards, are two types of traffic signs. Reflecting and radiant sign boards make up the majority of the road sign boards that are now in existence.

A reflective sheet is crimped over an aluminum plate with reinforcement material (referred to as a base) to create reflective signboards. Since it is beneficial it doesn’t rust and is made of aluminum.

Why do traffic signs appear glossy?

Road sign reflective sheets are made of glass beads and other materials. Light is reflected inside of them and returned to the source of light after striking them. We refer to this as “light reflexivity.” A similar reflection occurs when a motorist’s headlights strike a traffic sign; the light travels toward the car and reaches our eyes. The sign seems to glow for this reason.

It should be noted that reflective sheets come in a variety of forms and shine levels. Another option is the “distant illumination sign,” which uses an illuminating sheet made especially for long-distance illumination to reflect light from the side of the road resembling a searchlight.

Are there guidelines to follow while putting up traffic signs?

Naturally, there are guidelines. The “Road Sign Installation Standards” are the general guidelines for traffic sign maintenance, and depend on the “Order on Traffic Signs, Partition Lines, and Road Markings” (also known as the Sign Ordinance), which establishes installation standards, methods, recommendations, etc. In this form, it is compressed. Additionally, signs on highways are put following the “sign installation guidelines” that every expressway operator has set down.

For instance, the height (referred to as clearance) between the road surface or floor and the bottom edge of a traffic sign is typically set at 5 meters for big signs and 2.5 or 1.8 meters for small ones.

Why are they 2.5 and 1.8 meters? Traffic signs are typically constructed on sidewalks, places with trees planted, etc.; however, if they are constructed in locations where individuals may walk, they must be set at 2.5 m, while they must be placed in regions where there is no chance of individuals walking, as in areas with trees planted. In that case, setting it to 1.8m is typical. This is to prevent people from running into signboards and breaking their heads. For some highway sign’s tiny size is set at 2.0 meters. However, the large sign for local roadways and expressways is 5.0 meters.

What is the standard size of road signs?

With a few exceptions for some guiding signs, the Sign Regulation specifies the proportions of road signs.

Guide sign

There are essential designs and rules, even though the basic dimensions could differ slightly from place to place. For instance, the signs placed along public roadways are typically about 30 cm in size.


Warning signs, regulation signs, instruction signs

A warning sign’s standard measurements are 45 cm on every side. However, based on factors like traffic volume and road mechanics, the dimensions might be increased. Then, the measurements are taken as follows: 58.5 cm, 72 cm, 90 cm, etc. On highways, warning signs are placed 75 centimeters on either side, and on the Metropolitan Highway, they are 80 centimeters.

Regulatory signs have a basic diameter of 60 cm, while instructional signs have 60 cm on every side. Similarly to warning signs, one with a 90 or 120-cm side can be used based on the design of the road and the number of traffic.

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