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Signs, Signals & Markings

It’s the Law

Georgia law requires that all drivers, including bicyclists, obey official highway signs and traffic control signals unless otherwise directed by a police officer or emergency worker.

Vertical Rectangle signs are generally used for regulatory signs, which tell you what you must do. You must obey them in the same manner as traffic laws.

Road Signs

Shapes of Signs

The State of Georgia uses seven basic shapes of signs to convey traffic control instructions. Drivers should know signs by their shapes and colors so that they may recognize them from a distance and begin reacting timely and appropriately.

Horizontal Rectangle signs are generally used as guide signs. They show locations, directions, or other special information.

An Octagon (eight-sided shape) always means stop. When you come to it, you must make a complete stop at a marked stop line. If there is no stop line, stop before the crosswalk on your side of the intersection. If there is no crosswalk, stop at a point from which you can best see oncoming traffic. You must not start again until all pedestrians have finished crossing on the side of the roadway you are traveling on, and you have yielded the right-of-way to closely approaching traffic.

Triangle signs mean yield. You must slow down to a speed that is reasonable for existing conditions and stop if necessary. If you must stop, do so at a marked stop line, if it exists. After slowing or stopping, you must yield the right-of-way to other vehicles in the intersection or approaching closely on another roadway or auxiliary road leading into a major highway.

Diamond shaped signs warn of existing or possible hazards on roadways or adjacent areas. They are yellow with black words indicating the potential hazard, or black symbols visually describing the potential hazard.

A round sign means you are approaching a railroad crossing. This sign is posted a few hundred feet in front of the tracks andalerts you to slow down, look, listen and prepare to stop. If necessary, roll down a window and listen carefully for an approaching train. If a train is approaching, stop! Do not try to calculate whether you can “make it” across the track. Never try to beat a train through the intersection. Passing is prohibited at all railroad crossings.

Pentagon shaped signs mean you are approaching a school zone and/or school crossing. When used, they will be erected not less than 150 feet nor more than 700 feet in advance of the school grounds or school crossing. (These signs can sometimes be fluorescent green in color.)

Regulatory Signs

Regulatory signs tell drivers what they may or may not do. Drivers, including bicyclists, must obey them in the same manner as traffic laws. Remember, a red circle with a red slash from upper left to lower right means “No.” The picture within the circle shows what is prohibited.


You are approaching a one-way highway or ramp. Driving on the highway or ramp in the direction you are traveling is not allowed.

You cannot turn around to go in the opposite direction at this intersection.

You are approaching an area where a reduced speed limit has been established.

You are approaching a school zone. A reduced speed limit is in effect when the yellow lights are flashing.


You may travel only in the direction of the arrow.

You cannot make a right turn at this intersection.

When two or more traveling lanes are available in the direction you are traveling, slower traffic should travel in the right (outside) lane(s).

Bicycles are prohibited from entering this roadway.

This marks a one-way road. If you are facing this sign traffic is coming toward you. You must not continue down the road.

Traffic is required to keep to the right of medians or obstructions.

55 miles per hour is the maximum speed limit permitted in this area.

A right turn on red is prohibited, even after coming to a complete stop.


Trucks are prohibited from entering this roadway.

Railroad Crossings

When a road is crossed by a railroad crossing, the pavement is usually marked with a large X and two R’s. At railroad crossings, a yellow line is always placed on the right side of the center line to prevent passing. The crossing is sometimes equipped with control arms and/or emergency lights, to warn drivers of approaching trains. The driver of the vehicle must stop if warning signals indicate a train is approaching.

Edge Lines

These are the solid white lines along the side of the pavement. They serve as safety guides, especially at night when it is difficult to see the edge of the road. A yellow edge line may be used on the left side to warn of narrow or raised medians.

Lane Lines

These are the white dashes that mark the individual lanes of travel on streets and highways having more than one lane for traffic moving in the same direction.

When there are four or more lanes with traffic moving in opposite directions, two solid yellow lines mark the center of the roadway. You may cross these lines only to make a left turn into or from an alley, private road, driveway, or another street. When traveling on a multi-lane road, stay in the right lane except to pass other vehicles traveling in the same direction.

Pavement Markings

Pavement markings, like highway signs, are used to warn and direct drivers and to regulate traffic.

Stop Lines

Stop lines are white lines painted across the pavement at intersections indicating the point beyond which your vehicle should not cross if you are stopping for a traffic control device. In urban areas the line is usually located about four feet before the crosswalk. Drivers must come to a complete stop at the stop line, when present, not at the actual stop sign or traffic signal.

Crosswalk Lines

These white lines are painted across, or partially across the pavement. Sometimes they will be painted in a ladder pattern. When pedestrians are in the crosswalks, they have the right-of-way over motor vehicles. Crosswalks are sometimes in the middle of a block in residential areas, and in some cases, a pedestrian crossing signal is located at the white line.

Center Lines

These are used to separate traffic moving in opposite directions on paved roadways. Broken yellow lines are used when there are only two lanes and it is safe to pass in either direction.

No Passing Lines

Single Lines

These single, solid yellow lines on two-lane roads indicate zones where passing is prohibited. They will be located on the right of the broken yellow line when they apply to the lane in which you are traveling. In some instances, both yellow lines will be solid, indicating it is not safe for passing in either direction.

Double White Lines

These are double white line (dashed or solid) pavement markings on roadways that indicate where vehicles can or cannot cross to access the adjacent lane. When the double white lines are dashed, vehicles are allowed to cross over to the adjacent lane. When the double white lines are solid, lane changes are prohibited.

Turn Lanes

These lanes, bordered by solid yellow and/or broken yellow lines, is in the center of many streets and highways to make left turns. A motorist desiring to turn left should proceed to the turn lane just prior to making a left turn. Georgia law prohibits the use of this lane for any purpose other than making a left turn. You may enter this lane no more than 300 feet from the location of the left turn.

When a turning lane is provided for vehicles traveling in both directions, you should use extreme caution before entering the turning lane to make a left turn. There may be a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction also entering the turning lane to make a left turn. This is especially problematic in congested areas.

Bicycle Lanes

These are solid white lines typically located between the farthest right traffic lane and the curb or edge of the roadway. If there is a right-turn-only lane present, the bicycle lane will be located to the left of the right-turn-only lane in order to safely accommodate bicycles traveling straight through the intersection. Bicycle lanes may also be marked with painted symbols of a bicycle. Drivers of motor vehicles are prohibited from driving or parking in the bicycle lane, except to cross over it to make a turn. When crossing over a bicycle lane to make a turn, motorists must yield to bicyclists that are present.

Traffic Striping

These markings, created by diagonal yellow lines, are on streets and highways indicating that the road is narrowing or there is an obstruction on the roadway. The area is similar to a triangle with solid yellow diagonal lines within the outside lines. Always keep to the right of these markings.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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