Road Signs
Highway Construction and Maintenance Signs

Work Zone & Highway Construction Signs in 2022: Beyond The Driving Test

Updated Nov. 30, 2021

Most road signs used around highway construction and maintenance sites are orange, with black text or symbols. You will encounter these signs if work being conducted on or close to the roadway presents a hazard and demands that drivers proceed with caution and reduce their speed.

Work zone warning signs may be rectangular or diamond-shaped. They warn drivers of various potential hazards around the work area, such as:

  • The presence of flaggers directing traffic
  • Detours
  • Lane or road closure
  • Dangerous work being carried out
  • Hazardous materials on or near the roadway
  • Slow traffic ahead

For instance, the sign below indicates that construction, maintenance or utility workers are occupying to work site up ahead.

Work zone signs may also instruct drivers to take a certain action, for instance: “BE PREPARED TO STOP.”

Work zone traffic control devices

Other traffic control measures may be installed around construction and maintenance zones to support road signs in directing road users. These include:

  • Electronic signals, featuring messages or directional arrows
  • Barricades or panels surrounding a hazardous area, often marked with white and orange stripes
  • Striped drums, tubes or orange cones indicating areas which are off-limits to vehicles

Construction site detour signs

Detour signs may be posted around a construction zone if entire stretches of road are closed while work is being conducted. Slow down as you approach a detour, to give yourself more time to identify the route you must take around the worksite. Follow all instructions given by detour signs and proceed with caution.

Construction and maintenance zone safety

As construction and maintenance zones pose a threat to both motorists and workers, all drivers must move through them with extreme caution. Irresponsible driving could leave you or another road user seriously injured - or end up costing you a lot of money. Depending on the laws in your state, you could be subject to a doubled or substantially higher fine if caught committing a traffic violation in a work zone. Information on work zone fines can be found in your state’s driver handbook.

To stay safe around roadway construction and maintenance sites:

  1. Reduce your speed.
  2. Obey all road signs, traffic control devices and persons directing traffic.
  3. Be prepared to stop.
  4. Drive with additional caution.

Check out our highway construction zone article for a detailed discussion of work zone risk, along with a complete list of safety rules. Alternatively, view this comprehensive collection of work zone road signs.

Would you pass a driving test today?

Find out with our free quiz!


Like the article? Give us 5 points!

Click a star to add your vote

5.0 out of 5 stars based on 9 votes.

Read next

Recognizing Road Signs by Shape and Color
Road Signs 7 of 7

Recognizing Road Signs by Shape and Color

Based on its color and shape, the general meaning of a road sign can be determined without too much thought. Road signs were purposefully designed this way, as high-speed roads and distracting environments do not afford drivers much time to consider the meaning of a single sign.

Traffic Signals
Traffic Signals 1 of 6

Traffic Signals

Like road signs, traffic signals are designed to communicate important information about current or upcoming road conditions to motorists and pedestrians. They are also used to control the flow of traffic, telling drivers when they must stop, prepare to stop or proceed.

Traffic Lights for Drivers
Traffic Signals 2 of 6

Traffic Signals for Drivers

At controlled intersections, traffic lights are installed to keep multiple lanes of traffic flowing and prevent crashes. These signal lights are programmed to avoid conflicts between road users while allowing traffic to move through the intersection as freely as possible. This article will teach you how to interpret traffic lights.

Other Traffic Laws 4 of 4

Other Important Driving Laws

In this section, we cover various miscellaneous traffic laws which every driver must be aware of, even though may not be relevant so frequently as speed laws, right-of-way rules and other regulations you must adhere to on a day-to-day basis. Unless you are well informed of the rules in your state regarding leaving children unattended in a vehicle, transporting passengers in trailers or how much cargo you can carry, you could inadvertently break a traffic law without even knowing it existed.

Road Signs 1 of 7

Signs, Signals and Markings

Road signs, traffic signals and pavement markings are crucial topics in your driver’s ed program. Your knowledge of these traffic control devices will be assessed during the learner’s permit test and will ensure you can drive on our nation’s roadways safely, while abiding by the rules of the road.

Road Signs 2 of 7

Know Your Road Signs

Most of the information you need to drive safely and legally on a roadway is conveyed by road signs. Using easily recognizable shapes, colors and symbols, road signs are designed to indicate road laws, upcoming changes in roadway layout, potential dangers and important details about location, without posing too much of distraction to motorists.

Road Signs 3 of 7

Regulatory Road Signs

Regulatory road signs are everywhere. They enforce the traffic laws controlling the street or intersection on which they are posted, telling motorists what they must or must not do in that situation. Obeying the instructions laid out on regulatory road signs is not optional; failure to do so would put all road users in the area at risk and could incur a traffic fine or penalty.

Road Signs 4 of 7

Warning Road Signs

Warning signs are designed to notify drivers of changes in the roadway ahead or potential hazards in the area. Based on the type of warning sign posted, motorists must adjust their driving behavior to suit the conditions indicated on the sign.

Road Signs 5 of 7

Guide Signs

Unlike regulatory signs and warning signs, guide signs do not instruct motorists to take, or avoid, a particular action. Instead, they are designed to provide useful information about immediate or upcoming locations.