Theory Test Practice – Road & Traffic Signs

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When it comes to your theory test practice, the road and traffic signs topic will explore the various topics relatable to road signs and markings for drivers. This topic will look at warning signs, order road signs and direction signs.  We shall also look at what colours signs represent which category. Do you know your road signs? Let’s get started.

We have an online theory training course that you can access here. The course consists of video tutorials with real-life footage explaining and tutoring you on the many parts of the theory exam. Alongside the course, you will also have access to our member’s area and a safe group to share, discuss and gain motivational support for your studies. For more information on our online course, please visit this link.

Here is a list of all the topics that make up the theory training syllabus:

  1. Alertness
  2. Attitude
  3. Safety Margins
  4. Safety & Your Vehicle
  5. Hazard awareness
  6. Vulnerable Road Users
  7. Other types of vehicle
  8. Road conditions and vehicle handling
  9. Motorway driving
  10. Rules of the road
  11. Road and traffic signs
  12. Essential documents
  13. Incidents, accidents and emergencies
  14. Vehicle loading

Theory Training – Road & Traffic Signs

When it comes to your theory test practice, it is really important to make sure you cover all of the aspects of the exam in your training schedule. Missing one section may result in you failing your theory test. It is important to make sure this does NOT happen to you.

Learner POD has compiled a comprehensive training online theory course and an abundance of free training material which will help with your theory studies. Visit our YouTube channel to access lots of free resources and training videos.

In this section, you will learn about road & traffic signs. This is quite a comprehensive part of your theory studies. In this section you will be looking at the following:

  1. Order Road Signs
  2. Negative Orders
  3. Positive Orders
  4. Warning Road Signs
  5. Information/Direction
  6. Tourism Signs
  7. Motorway Signs
  8. Industrial Signs
  9. Different Shaped Road SIgns
  10. Road Markings
  11. Edge Of Carriageway
  12. Markings Across The Road
  13. Traffic Light Sequences
  14. Filter Traffic Lights
  15. Red/Twin Traffic Lights
  16. Signals By Other Road Users & Police
  17. Arm Signals & Horn

Order Signs

When it comes to legal stuff or “must” do’s, circle signs give orders! You must act upon them and not disobey them, otherwise, you could be committing an illegal offence!

There are two types of orders: negative orders (most common) and positive orders (less common). Either way, each order is in the shape of a circle sign! Negative orders come with a red ring, and positive orders usually have a blue background.

Negative Orders

Negative orders mean you must not do or exceed something. The most common sign is the speed limit sign. These mean do not exceed the amount stated.

The no entry sign – DO NOT ENTER

The no stopping sign – DO NOT STOP

The no waiting sign – DO NOT WAIT/NO WAITING

Positive Orders

Positive orders are orders that you must do and obey. They are more about informing you of a situation that would benefit you as a driver. For example, a one-way sign at a roundabout is a circle sign with a blue background with a picture of a white arrow. It tells you that you must drive in a certain direction, hence why it’s ‘you should’ as opposed ‘you must not’.

If you get a 30 in a circle sign with a blue background, it means a minimum speed limit applies. You must keep above 30 mph when travelling on that particular road. 

Warning Signs

Warning signs come in the shape of a triangle. They are always with a red ring as they are warning you of an upcoming hazard or junction. Very often, the warning is to inform you of road layouts, priorities and typical hazards that may be ahead. Here are some examples of the types of warnings you may be informed about:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Junctions
  • Roundabouts
  • Crossroads
  • Pedestrian crossings
  • Hidden dips
  • Speed humps
  • Two-way roads.
  • Side roads

Information/Direction Road Signs

Rectangle and square signs give information and/or directions. For example, a square sign may inform you of local attractions, or a black square road sign may inform you of an industrial park nearby. If the sign provides directions, the road signs usually come in different colours dependent on their locality. Here is an example:

  1. White – local destinations
  2. Green – town destinations
  3. Blue – motorway destinations
  4. Brown – Tourist
  5. Black – Industrial 

Tourism Road Signs

Tourism signs are generally brown coloured rectangle signs. The brown represents ‘tourism’. The shape of the sign is eithre information/directions. Local landmarks and tourist attractions usually are signposted as visitors to such attractions travel from afar to visit such places of interest.

Local councils inform commuters of their directions and places of interest with the use of brown tourism road signs.

Motorway Road Signs

Motorway signs that give information on or about motorway directions tend to be blue. The shape of this sign is rectangle so the sign is giving information/directions and the colour represents motorways. It doesn’t necessarily have to just be directions that ‘blue’ signs represent. For example countdown markers are square and blue – they count you down to the exit! 

Industrial Road Signs

Black signs often represent industrial and logistics. They often come in either circle (orders) or rectangle (information/directions). They are quite frequently used to navigate lorries and HGV’s to local industrial and distribution parks.

Different Shaped Road Signs

There are a few shaped signs that are an exception to the rule. The octagonal sign: ‘the stop junction’ is different. These junctions tend to have restricted observations. The purpose of this sign shape is to inform drivers of the meaning of the sign even if the sign is covered in snow!

The diamond-shaped signs are speed limits for tram drivers. Trams are found in some major cities in the UK.

Road Markings

When it comes to road markings it is important to understand their meaning and why we have them. They are not there to inform you to keep to your side of the road. They represent hazards!

A general rule of thumb: the more paint on the road, the bigger the hazard ahead!

Short white lines with large spaces mark the centre of the road, whilst longer broken white lines show that a hazard is ahead. In this situation, you should only overtake if the road ahead is clear.

Road Markings Across The Road

Give way lines or broken white lines mean to give way. At a roundabout, you give way to the right. A single solid line means STOP. You can find these at traffic lights, and at a STOP junction. Various markings on the road, for example: ‘give way’ triangles at junctions, and road humps, and rumble strips warn you of a hazard.

Traffic Light Sequences

Traffic lights work in a sequence here is a guide:

Red – stop and wait behind the stop line

Red and amber – stop and wait; don’t pass or start until the green light shows.

Green – go if the way is clear

Amber : stop unless you’ve already crossed the stop line or you are so close to it that pulling up might cause an incident.

Filter Traffic lights

Sometimes on traffic lights, you will see a filter arrow. This could be a left arrow or a right arrow. This means you can go on the filter green light even if the main light is on red. You can only go in the direction of the arrow.

If some traffic lights are out of order, you should drive very carefully!

You may see a sign informing you that the lights aren’t working. Treat it as a junction.

Red/Twin Traffic Lights

Sometimes you will see red flashing lights and very often they are ‘twin flashing lights’. These can be found at level crossings, fire stations and bridges. You must Stop when these show.

At roadworks, traffic can be controlled by

  • Police officers
  • Traffic lights
  • A stop/go board

Signals By Other Road Users

Signals that are given by all road users usually are by the use of indicators. This normally happens when intending to turn. When indicating make sure you cancel the indicator as soon as you have turned. Also,  be aware of other road users who have left their indicator on by mistake.

If you’re emerging from a junction and a driver coming along the road from the right is close to you and indicating left, wait until the vehicle starts to turn before you emerge from the junction.

Arm Signals

Sometimes it is important to use an arm signal to support a direction signal. This is sometimes needed when you are:

  • Signalling to turn right in busy traffic
  • Slowing down to give way at a zebra crossings

If you want to park on the left just after a side road make sure you signal whilst you are passing the junction or just after you have passed it.

You can use your horn as a signal to warn others of your presence. You must not use it between 11.30 pm and 7 am when driving in a built-up area, except when another road user puts you in danger. You must not use your horn whilst stationary unless another vehicle is likely to cause a danger.

You should only use your headlights to ‘flash’ other road users to warn them of your presence, and you should NEVER flash other motorists to show annoyance. 

Signals By Police/Services

When driving on a motorway, it is advised to use your hazard warning lights to inform other road users behind you that there is a hazard in the road ahead. Police or traffic officers may signal to you if they are directing traffic. Make sure that you know all the official arm signals.

A police officer or Highways Traffic Officer (HATO) that is following you in a vehicle may flash their headlights, indicate left and point to the left to direct you to stop. You must pull over to the left.

You must obey any signals given by the police, traffic wardens and signs given by school crossing personnel!



Theory Test Practice – Road & Traffic Signs – Mock Test 1



Theory Test Practice – Road & Traffic Signs – Mock Test 2



Theory Test Practice – Road & Traffic Signs – Mock Test 3


Please visit the next section – Essential Documents 

Useful Resources

  1. Warning signs
  2. Order signs
  3. Direction signs
  4. Highways Agency Traffic Officers
  5. Arm signals

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