Road Sign Colors – DMV Test Questions for Your Permit

Permit Test Questions about Road Signs

Good knowledge of road signs, traffic signals, and road markings is an absolute must for all drivers.

Don’t just learn the signs and signals described in your driver’s manual but look around you whenever you move in traffic and try to recognize and describe the meaning of all signs and signals you see. You should also try to be aware of all pavement markings and learn what they mean.

Learn about Road Sign Colors

Besides from being familiar with all individual signs and their meaning, you should also learn how shapes and colors are used on road signs in United States.

Look for a chapter about shapes and colors in your states driver’s manual and expect one or two questions about them on your final written DMV test.

The most important color for your permit test is orange. When DMV asks about road sign colors, 9 out of 10 questions are about the color of signs in work zones.

Here are a few examples of such DMV questions about U.S. road sign colors. Can you answer them all?

Road Sign Colors Test Based on Real DMV Questions

Black and white

Question 1: What do black and white road signs mean?
  • A. A warning
  • B. A regulation
  • C. A temporary guidance through a work zone
  • D. A guidance to a parking area

ANSWER: B. Regulation. Signs with white background and black lettering and signs with black background and white lettering shows a regulation that you must obey. One example is the Speed Limit sign. Some white regulation signs also have red or green lettering, like parking signs.


Orange-colored caution sign

Question 2: Orange-colored signs like this are found in or near:
  • A. Work zones
  • B. School zones
  • C. No-passing zones
  • D. Tunnels

ANSWER: A. Orange-colored signs tell you that you are in a construction or maintenance area (work zone). Use caution and look for workers and equipment.



Question 3: The most common color of warning signs is:
  • A. Red
  • B. Brown
  • C. White
  • D. Yellow

ANSWER: D. All general warning signs in United States are yellow with black lettering or symbols. Some warning signs are orange (temporary warnings in work zones) and some are pink (used for emergency incidents).


The color blue

Question 4: What do road signs with a blue background indicate?
  • A. Direction guidance
  • B. Motorist services
  • C. Construction and maintenance warnings
  • D. Points of cultural interest

ANSWER: B. Blue signs with white lettering guide you to motorist services like gas stations, rest areas, motels, and handicap parking areas. Blue signs are also used for tourist information and evacuation routes.


The color red

Question 5: The purpose of a red road signs is to:
  • A. Let you know that there is a school zone ahead
  • B. Warn you of possible hazards ahead
  • C. Tell you what you cannot do or to stop
  • D. Alert you to temporary road closures

ANSWER: C. Red is used for stop or prohibition. One example is the red Stop sign, another is the Wrong Way sign that prohibits you from driving in that direction.



Question 6: A sign that warns drivers of a flagger is an example of a traffic sign with:
  • A. Yellow or yellow-green background
  • B. Orange background
  • C. Brown background
  • D. White background

ANSWER: B. Flagger ahead is an example of a road sign with orange background. Remember, orange is used as a background color for all temporary construction and maintenance warning signs.


fluorescent yellow-green background

Question 7: Signs with fluorescent yellow-green background alerts you to:
  • A. School warning, bicycle, or pedestrian crossings
  • B. Emergency traffic incidents
  • C. Temporary speed changes
  • D. Merge areas and lane closures

ANSWER: A. Warning signs in school zones and signs that alerts you to bicyclists and pedestrian crossings are being replaced with signs that have a fluorescent yellow-green background.


Yosemite National Park

Question 8: Signs that guide you to a national park has which color?
  • A. Blue
  • B. Green
  • C. Brown
  • D. White or black

ANSWER: C. Guide signs are blue, green, or brown. When they guide you to areas of cultural interest or public recreation, like national parks, they are brown with white lettering or white symbols.


Yellow background

Question 9: Which is indicated by yellow-colored road sign?
  • A. No-parking zone
  • B. Distance to a rest area
  • C. One-way roadway
  • D. Railroad crossing ahead

ANSWER: D. A yellow circle-shaped sign warns you of a railroad crossing ahead. Distance to motorist services are indicated by blue signs and regulation signs, like one-way roadways and no-parking zones, are black and white.


Pink background

Question 10: Signs with fluorescent pink background alerts you to:
  • A. School, bicycle, or pedestrian crossings
  • B. Road exits
  • C. Emergency traffic incidents
  • D. Merge areas and lane closures

ANSWER: C. Warning signs with fluorescent pink background mean that there is an emergency incident ahead.


Orange background

Question 11: What should you expect when you see an orange road sign?
  • A. Workers on or near the roadway
  • B. Police or emergency responders
  • C. School children and school crossing guards
  • D. Wild animals that may cross the roadway

ANSWER: A. Orange road sign alert you to a construction and maintenance area (work zone). You can expect workers or work equipment on or near the roadway. You should also expect changing traffic patterns including slowed traffic, lane closures, shifting or narrow lanes, sharp drop-offs etc.



Question 12: A sign that shows the distance to a nearby city has which color?
  • A. Blue
  • B. Green
  • C. Yellow
  • D. White

ANSWER: B. Signs that give you guidance to nearby cities and towns are green with white lettering.



Cover of Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) - FHWA

Official Definitions of Road Sign Colors in United States

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has established the general meanings for 11 road sign colors (of 13) that are used across the United States. Two colors, coral and light blue, are reserved for future applications and not included in this list.

  • Black: regulation
  • Blue: road user services guidance, tourist information, and evacuation route
  • Brown: recreational and cultural interest area guidance
  • Fluorescent Pink: incident management
  • Fluorescent Yellow Green: pedestrian warning, bicycle warning, playground warning, school bus and school warning
  • Green: indicated movements permitted, direction guidance
  • Orange: temporary traffic control
  • Purple: lanes restricted to use only by vehicles with registered electronic toll collection (ETC) accounts
  • Red: stop or prohibition
  • White: regulation
  • Yellow: warning

Learn about Road Sign Shapes


  Road Sign Shapes Test for Your Permit

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