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The Difference Between Road Signs Around The World

Have you ever noticed a strange road sign abroad and couldn’t understand its meaning? Well, that’s completely fine. As some countries have road signs that are unique to their country. Also, around the world, there are many signs that have the same meaning but look different.

Stop signs

When thinking about stop signs the first thing that comes to mind is a red octagon sign with white letters saying “STOP”. But it appears that it is not the same in all parts of the world.

As for the color of stop signs, nowadays they are all red around the world. But in the past, some used to be yellow and blue as well.

In some countries like Ethiopia, Israel and Pakistan the stop sign is displayed by a hand indicating to stop.

stop hand signs

Usually stop signs are considered to have an octagonal shape, but still there are some countries where the sign is a circle and there is an upside down triangle inside of it.

stopping trafffic sign

Here are the most unusual types of “STOP” signs in the world.

The first one is in Japan, which is in the shape of an upside down triangle. It is probably the only sign in the world that has this shape.

The second one is in Papua New Guinea, which has a completely unique shape, compared with other stop signs around the world.

And the last one is in Nepal, which does not have any text or symbol on it, it is just a red octagon.

STOP traffic signs

Even though most countries use English for their safety signs, there are countries that use only their language for sign making.

Below see some of that signs. To help you we have added the names of their country on them, so you will know which sign belongs to which country.

stop warning traffic sign

Animal Alert Signs

Other common types of road signs are animal alert signs, which can especially be seen on countryside roads. But because there are animals that can be seen only in a certain country, some signs might seem weird for people living in other places.

In Australia, it is common to see kangaroos on the street while it might seem very unusual for others.

animal alert signs

Bear can be common for USA, Russia but for many people living in other parts of the world it might be very strange to see a bear alert sign.

animal alert signs

Or in Africa you can see camels crossing the road warning signs. While in Japan, there is a road sign alert for crabs.

animal road signs

Pedestrian crossing signs

Normally when thinking of pedestrian crossing signs, we imagine an illustration of a person walking on a zebra crossing. But apparently, pedestrian crossing signs can vary depending on the country. Mostly the difference is in the person’s appearance crossing the road. Let’s see what we mean by that.

pedestrain crossing sign

As we can see Australia is probably one of the only countries where the pedestrian crossing sign does not have a person on it, but has an illustration of walking legs. Laos is again unique, as it is one of the only places where the person crossing is a female, as we are used to see males pictured on these signs. And the uniqueness in the sign of Qatar is in the clothes of the person crossing the street.

pedestrain road safety signs

These three signs are relatively not so unusual. The only difference is in Israel and Japan, where the pedestrians are wearing hats. Overall we can see that the shapes and colors of these signs are also different.

Road sign colors and shapes

 Although similar signs can have different designs around the world, the color of the signs has the same meaning. So let’s see what each color of traffic signs mean. In what type of road signs each color is used.

  • Green– is often used for making directional, info and guide signs
  • Red– means stop, the wrong way, do not enter
  • Blue– is used for motorist service guide and parking spaces for handicapped drivers
  • White and black – are used for regulatory signs. Usually white is often used as each color can be visible from it.
  • Yellow – can be seen on general warning signs
  • Orange – is used for construction warning signs

Same is with the shapes of road signs. A certain shape refers to a certain type of a road sign.

road signs traffic regulatories of different shapes
  • Rectangles(vertical) – used for regulatory signs
  • Rectangle(horizontal) – used for guide signs
  • Diamond – used for warning signs
  • Octagon –used for stop signs
  • Triangle– used for yield signs
  • Circle – used for railroad crossing signs and emergency evacuation route signs

Funny road signs

The world is full of funny traffic signs, which sometimes are even impossible to explain. Probably the aim of those signs is to attract attention and even make the driver’s road a little bit fun.

Let’s see some of them and try to understand what they mean.

BEWARE funny road sign

Is this sign made to inform children about wild animals? Or does it warn others to beware of children? We wish to know where this sign is located and what is wrong with children there.

TRIP HAZARD warning traffic sign

A useful one, especially for those who rarely check their feet while walking.

funny road signs

We can guess that the shoe sign is an alert for women wearing heels, warning them that they may lose their shoe heel while walking there. This is funny but at the same time a useful one.

What kind of pigeons are these? Probably no one would want to feed them after reading this sign.

Who is Bob? And why should we beware of him? We do not know where on Earth this sign is, but now we are suspicious of all Bobs.

It appears that there is a place in the world that alongside with rocks, cows can also fall on you. This is a legit road sign and not Photoshop.

Unique road signs

Each country has its uniqueness, which can be applied to road signs as well. There are traffic signs that can be seen only in a certain country and nowhere else.

Bellow see some of these signs.

CAUTION alert sign

This immigrant crossing sign is located in the US. Which is used to warn the drivers to be more careful as there are immigrants crossing the street.

traffic board signs

This Pegasus crossing sign is used in The United Kingdom and Peru, which is apparently for horse riders.

The second sign is probably in Finland and it says “Beware of Finnish zombies”. So when in Finland, look after your brains. All jokes aside, this one is a very helpful sign in Finland which actually means "Beware of fragile ice”.

So now you are more aware of all types of road signs from various corners of our world.

If you'd like to renew your road signs, get new ones or decorate your room with novelty signs, you can get them here with just a few clicks.

Leave a comment

  • movzio

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    fantastic educational article here at my residence.

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  • Tzyde

    The last sign, that is finish language, says “Beware of fragile ice”. That is where the ice on the surface of a river, lake or sea is believed to be not strong enough. Every winter many people drown in Finland when they fall into the cold water thru the ice so this sign is really important. As far as I know the zombies are very rare in Finland.

  • Sunil Kumar

    Good post related to signs. Speed limit signs are very important near school and hospital. And speed limit is also used in high accident zones. We are dealers of safety signs and was very good to read this post. Keep writing more on other signs also.

  • Rima Lukosiene

    Cool

  • Jeanne

    Hello, I have a correction for you:
    The Finnish sign at the end does not say ‘Beware of Finnish zombies’. The person who told you that simply tricked you. It says, ‘Beware of weak ice’, as there are many lakes and much ice in Finland during wintertime.

    Also, when you write ‘the international language’, you mean ‘English’? English is nowadays used as the main lingua franca, but saying ‘the international language’ without specifying is slightly over the top. Also, ‘stop’ has been borrowed by several European languages and is therefore a part of them. So, France uses French and the French word ‘stop’, borrowed from English.

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