Driving School Ireland,
Phone 071 9162311 or 087 6688797
Section 6 a:
Traffic signs and road markings
- Regulatory Signs
- Stop and Yield Signs
- One-way streets
- Road markings
- Warning signs
- Information signs
- Traffic calming signs
You must know what traffic signs and road markings mean before you attempt to drive on a public road. This section focuses on the signs that you as a driver will come across most often. Sections 21 to 25 covers a range of the most important signs currently used on Irish roads.
You must know and understand these signs and respond correctly when you see them on the road.
Traffic signs and roadway markings are divided into three broad categories:
- Warning, and
Sometimes signs from different categories are used together to improve road safety.
Different types of signs are used for bus and cycle lanes, motorways and railway crossings and bridges. There is also a special series of warning signs for road works. These are all outlined at the end of this section.
These indicate what you must do under road traffic law, so all road users must obey them. Regulatory signs are divided into a number of groups:
- Upright signs,
- Road markings and
- Traffic lights.
This section concentrates on regulatory upright signs and road markings. Section 7 covers traffic lights in detail.
What they look like.
These generally come in two formats. Their shape can be circular, octagonal, triangular or rectangular, as shown in the examples below:
- a white background with a red border and black letters, symbols or numbers, and
Zonal restriction - no parking of large vehicles
No entry to vehicles
Tram lane on right
Start of cycle track
Contra flow bus lane
The sign below applies to drivers of HGVs and large non-passenger vehicles. It means that vehicles with the number of axles shown (or more) cannot use the road during the times shown without a permit. You should check the information plate and/or the permit to confirm the time limits and any restrictions that apply.
No entry to goods vehicles (by reference to number of axles)
As you can see from the diagram, the Stop upright sign is a red octagon with a white border. It is the only regulatory sign of this shape. Stop signs appear at junctions with major roads. If you approach a Stop sign, you must stop completely before entering the major road, no matter how quiet it might appear.
The Yield upright sign shown is just one version of this sign. Other versions are the same shape and colour but might say 'Yield Right of Way', or 'G.ill Sl.'. If you see a Yield sign on the road, usually near a junction or roundabout, you must give way to any traffic on a major road ahead and you must not proceed out onto the main road until it is safe to do so. It is better to be safe than sorry, make sure you allow enough time to complete your manoeuvre.
When you are approaching a one-way street, you may see one of two regulatory signs. If you are at the entrance to a one-way street, you will see the 'Proceed Straight Ahead' regulatory sign. If you are approaching the 'wrong' end of a one-way street, you will see the regulatory road markings shown below to indicate 'No Entry' and you must not enter past those markings.
You may also see an upright 'No Entry' sign with the road markings.
No entry to vehicles
Driving in a one-way street
Even though all traffic on a one-way street is travelling in the same direction, you should still drive on the left-hand side. You may leave the left-hand side only if you intend to overtake or turn right up ahead. You may drive on either side of a traffic island, but take note of arrow markings on the road.
Only change lanes if you have to. If you have to change lanes, check your mirrors and blind spots for any traffic coming up behind or overtaking you. When the way is clear, signal your intention and move, giving way to any traffic already in the lane.
When turning right from a one-way street, drive as close as you can to the righthand side.
Remember that the road at the end of a one-way street may be two-way. You may see the warning sign below if it is.
Streets for Pedestrians
The regulatory sign below shows that the street is closed to all road users except pedestrians at the time shown on the information plate underneath.
Road markings are a traffic sign in the form and design of a marking on the surface of the road. They have the same standing as upright signs. Road users must obey these road markings.
The diagrams below show the most common types of road marking and what they mean.
|ROAD MARKINGS||WHAT THEY MEAN|
|Single or double continuous white lines along the centre of the road||All traffic must keep to the left of the line (except in an emergency or for access).|
|Longer white lines / warning lines along the centre of the road||These warning lines alert drivers to hazards such as restricted vision, approach to a junction, approach to a roundabout, a hill, crests, bends and continuous white line ahead.|
|Short broken white lines along the centre of the road||These divide two lanes of traffic travelling in opposite directions. You must not cross them unless it is safe to do so.|
|Double broken white lines along the centre of the road||These alert drivers to continuous white lines a short distance ahead. As a driver, you must not cross them unless it is safe to do so.|
|A broken white line with a single white line along the centre of the road||The driver must obey the line that is nearest to them. In this picture, the driver in the car must remain to the left of the continuous white line.|
|A single broken yellow line along the side of the road||This road contains a hard shoulder,
which is normally only for
pedestrians and cyclists.
If a driver wants to allow a vehicle behind them to overtake, they may pull in to the hard shoulder briefly as long as no pedestrians or cyclists are already using it and no junctions or entrances are nearby.
Different rules exist for hard shoulders on motorways. See Section 11 for details.
|ROAD MARKINGS||WHAT THEY MEAN|
|A broken white
Yield line crossing
the left-hand lane.
A white triangular Yield symbol may also be provided with the Yield line.
|The driver must give right-of-way to any traffic on a mojor road ahead. The yield line usually appears with an upright Yield sign.|
white Stop line
crossing the lefthand
The word STOP may also be provided with the Stop line.
|The driver must come to a complete stop before entering a major road. The stop line sometimes appears with an upright Stop sign.|
|An advanced stop line for cyclists, which is in front of the stop line for other traffic||Cyclists may position themselves in
front of other traffic at a junction
controlled by traffic lights.
The motor vehicle driver must wait behind the first white line they reach and not cross into the shaded area. The driver must also give cyclists enough time and space to move off when the lights turn green.
|A turning box showing a white arrow in a white edged box, found at junctions controlled by traffic lights||This shows where to position a
vehicle if you want to take a right turn.
If oncoming traffic means you cannot take a right turn immediately, you must wait in the box until you can safely take the turn.
These signs warn you of hazards ahead, such as roundabouts, crossroads, dangerous bends or anything else that would call on you to drive more carefully. You should always take special care when you see a warning sign. If you fail to observe these signs you could create an emergency.
What they look like
All warning signs have the same format. They:
- are diamond or rectangular shaped,
- have a yellow background with a black border, and
- use a black symbol to show the hazard ahead.
They are also upright, meaning they are at the side of the road or mounted on a wall instead of painted onto the road surface.
This diagram shows some of the most common warning signs.
Series of dangerous bends ahead
Dangerous corner ahead
Tram lane warning sign for pedestrians
Section 22 has more examples of warning signs.
These signs differ from other warning signs. You should always take extra care and reduce your speed when you see these signs.
The signs are:
- rectangular or diamond shaped, and
- orange with a black border and black symbols or words.
End of detour
Temporary traffic signals ahead
The movement of vehicles at or near roadworks is controlled by law.
Stop and Go traffic control at roadworks
When road works are being carried out you must stop when you see the Stop sign below. You may only proceed through or past the road works when the Go sign (T.igh) is displayed. It is an offence not to obey these signs.
Where plant or machinery is crossing the roadway and no matter what direction you approach from, you must stop when you see the Stop sign below. You must obey these road signs. The signs can be operated by mechanical or manual means.
Manual traffic control sign at roadworks
Either form of Go or T.igh can be used
There are more signs displayed in Section 23.
Variable Message Signs
These signs provide information in an electronic format and are designed to inform you of a range of issues relating to roads and road safety. The content of the sign will change, dependent on the situation. You should pay particular attention to these signs and messages.
Information regarding speed limit
New road layout ahead
mobile VMS (displaying text message)
mobile VMS (displaying chevrons)
Arrow formats for mobile VMS
As their name suggests, these signs give information about directions and distances from your current location.
What they look like
There are three formats for information signs:
- blue signs with white letters on motorways,
- green signs with white letters, which are on national roads, and
- white signs with black letters, which are on local and regional roads.
Advanced direction signs
Motorway information signs
All motorway signs are blue. The following table identifies the most common signs and what they mean.
|Motorway signs||What they mean|
There is an entrance to a motorway ahead and the road users listed on the sign must not enter the motorway.
|Entry to motorway||
The road user is now entering a motorway and
must obey motorway rules.
The driver is 300 metres from the next exit off the motorway.
The driver is 200 metres from the next exit.
The driver is 100 metres from the next exit.
|Motorway ends 500m ahead||
There are 500 metres to the end of the motorway.
|End of motorway||
The driver has reached the end of the motorway.
Section 11 covers the main rules on motorway driving. It is an offence to disobey these rules.
Markings for merging and diverging traffic (hatched markings)
The diagrams show how the markings can be used for:
- merging traffic, for example, where two lanes of traffic become one,
- diverging traffic, for example where channelling traffic taking a left turn away from traffic going straight ahead, and
- separating traffic travelling in opposite directions (in what are called central median islands).
If you see these markings on a road, you must not enter the area they cover.
Road markings on '2-plus-1 roads'
A 2-plus-1 road consists of two lanes in one direction of travel and one lane in the other direction. The two-lane section allows for safe overtaking and alternates with a one-lane section roughly every 2 kilometres.
There may be a safety barrier in the centre of the road which separates the two directions of traffic and prevents drivers from overtaking in the one-lane section. If vehicles need to turn right, they can do so at junctions.
In other cases vehicles which need to turn right or turnaround may first turn left onto a minor road and perform a U-turn in the area provided for that purpose. They can then resume their journey as originally intended.
A form of 2-plus-1 road already exists on some climbing national primary roads - the uphill stretch is two lanes and the downhill stretch is just one.
Some towns and villages use road features, signs and markings for traffic calming, which generally involves slowing the pace of traffic and managing its flow at junctions. The signs used for traffic calming are regulatory, warning and information. When you enter one of these towns or villages, you will see an information sign that may be combined with the town or village name and a speed limit sign.
In these towns, expect the following speed reducing measures:
- traffic islands,
- chicanes, and
- pinch points.
You may also come across the following signs on residential roads in built-up areas. These signs indicate that the road includes ramps, speed cushions or speed tables.
Ramps on road