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Traffic instruction signs

Traffic instruction signs give you direction and more information about the road you are travelling on.

This extra information can include:

  • clearance of structures over the road
  • restrictions for vehicle load limits
  • climbing and overtaking lanes and turnouts
  • steep descents and climbs and safety ramps
  • alternative routes
  • road flooding depth indicators
  • advance instruction for motorways and highways.

Detour and alternative route signs

Sign Meaning
white sign with black arrow and text, low bridge ahead, number of metres. High vehicles detour white sign with black arrow and text, load limit on bridge, number of tonnes gross. Heavy vehicles detour

Low or load limited bridge ahead with detour signs

These signs indicate that there is a bridge, underpass or other structure on or over the road ahead with a height clearance or weight limit.

High or heavy vehicles must use the detour shown by the arrow on the sign.

white sign with black arrow and text, detour for high vehicles
white sign with black arrow and text, detour for heavy vehicles
white sign with black arrow and text, detour for long vehicles
white sign with black arrow and text, detour for wide vehicles

Detour signs for high, heavy, long and wide vehicles

These signs indicate that high, heavy, long or wide vehicles must not continue on the route ahead and that a detour is available instead.

These vehicles must use the detour shown by the arrow on the sign.

green sign with white arrow and text, alternative route to, blank space for town name

Alternative route signs

These signs indicate the direction to follow for the alternative route.

white sign with black arrow and text, alternative route for trucks and buses

Alternative route for trucks and buses sign

These signs show truck and bus drivers the alternative route they need to take.

You will usually see this sign with very steep climb or descent signs when not suitable for certain vehicles.

Heavy or slow vehicle signs

Sign Meaning
white sign with inset yellow diamond-shaped sign of black car driving up slope, as well as black text, very steep climb next number of km

Very steep climb signs

These signs warn drivers that the road climbs steeply for the length shown on the sign.

white sign with black text, very steep climb number of km ahead. Not suitable for trucks buses caravans trailers

Very steep climb not suitable for some vehicles signs

These signs warn drivers that certain vehicles may find it difficult to drive up the steep climb on the road ahead. These vehicles may include:

  • trucks
  • buses
  • caravans
  • trailers.
red sign with inset yellow diamond-shaped sign of black car driving down slope, as well as white text, steep descent

Steep descent signs

These signs warn drivers that there is a steep descent or a long steep descent on the road ahead.

Long steep descent signs also show the length of the descent.

white sign with black text, very steep descent number of km ahead. Not suitable for trucks buses caravans trailers

Very steep descent ahead not suitable for some vehicles signs

These signs warn drivers that certain vehicles may not be able to drive down the steep descent on the road ahead safely. These vehicles may include:

  • trucks
  • buses
  • caravans
  • trailers.

Alternative route signs show which way these vehicles can go to avoid the steep descent and continue their journey.

white sign with black text, slow vehicle turnout 300m
white sign with black arrow and text, slow vehicle turnout

Slow vehicle turnout signs

These signs indicate that slow vehicles can use the turnout ahead on the left.

A turnout is where the road widens for a short distance. Slow vehicles can use this area to allow other traffic to pass them.

You will see turnouts on low speed roads where there is not enough space for an overtaking lane.

white sign with black text, slow vehicle lane ahead white sign with black text, slow vehicles use left lane

Slow vehicle lane ahead signs

These signs show that there is a slow climb ahead and that slow vehicles must use the left lane. They may also tell you the distance to the start of the slow vehicle lane.

white sign with black text, overtaking lane, space for distance, ahead

Overtaking lane signs

These signs show that an overtaking lane will begin after the distance shown on the sign.

white sign with black text, safety ramp, space for distance

white sign with black text, safety ramp, space for distance, on right

white sign with arrow and black text, safety ramp

Safety ramp signs

These signs show when there is a safety ramp on the side of the road and the distance to it.

Safety ramps allow out-of-control vehicles on steep descents to stop safely. You must not park or stop on a safety ramp, except in an emergency.

If there is not enough room for a safety ramp, there may be an arrester bed instead. An arrester bed is a gravel filled ramp that reduces the speed of out of control vehicles.

white sign with black text, on right

On right signs

These are supplementary signs used with safety ramp signs that are on the right-hand side of the road.

white sign with black text, unsuitable for large vehicles

Unsuitable for large vehicles sign

These signs show that the traffic area ahead is not suitable for large vehicles to drive through.

You might see this sign with a local traffic only sign.

Local traffic restriction signs

Sign Meaning
white sign with black text, local traffic only

Local traffic only signs

A local traffic sign is for traffic accessing the local area. Through traffic should continue using the main roads.

Square-cornered local traffic only signs are used at roadwork sites with detours that allow local traffic into the area.

white sign with black text, no through road

No through road signs

These signs show that the road does not provide passage for continuing journeys.

You will see this sign on local roads with a dead end.

white sign with black text, road closed

Road closed sign

These signs indicate that the road is permanently closed to traffic.

white sign with black text, road subject to flooding, indicators show depth

Road subject to flooding signs

These signs show that water may flow over the road ahead.

These signs are used at fords and floodways. There will also be depth indicators on the side of the road where these signs refer to them.

long, thin, white sign with black m at the top and numbered measurements marked down the side

Floodwater depth indicators

These signs show the depth of water flowing over the road. They are set with zero at the lowest section of the road.

These indicators are used at fords, floodways and low-level bridges.

Speed and lane information signs

Sign Meaning
white sign with black text, form 1 lane white sign with black text, form 2 lanessmall white rectangular sign with blank space for a number and a black letter m

Form 1 or 2 lanes signs

These signs show that the number of lanes on the road you are travelling on will reduce to the number shown on the sign.

When you see these signs, you need to merge with other drivers into a remaining lane.

They may be accompanied by a supplementary sign showing the distance beyond the sign that the number of lanes will be reduced.

white sign with black arrow and text, merge right

Merge right signs

These signs show that you will need to merge right and join a lane with other drivers.

white sign with black circle with space inside for a number, underneath is the word ahead in black

Speed limit ahead signs

These signs show that the speed limit is changing ahead. You should start slowing down to prepare for the lower speed limit.

red sign with white text, reduce speed

Reduce speed signs

When you see this sign, you must slow down.

This sign is installed with other warning signs that indicate the hazard. You may need to stop.

red sign with white text, reduce speed now

Reduce speed now signs

These signs are installed on motorway exit ramps where you need to slow down and may need to stop.

white sign with black text, on bridge

On bridge signs

These signs show that a restriction applies on the bridge ahead. It is only used with a speed limit sign.

You must not drive faster than the speed limit shown.

red sign with white text, wrong way

Wrong way signs

These signs tell you that you are driving in the wrong direction and you must turn around.

You will usually see this sign with or after a no entry sign.

red sign with white text, wrong way — go back

Wrong way—go back signs

These signs tell you that you are driving in the wrong direction along an exit ramp of a motorway.

You must turn around and go back in the direction you came from.

white sign with black text, winding road ends 3km

Winding road ends signs

These signs indicate the distance until a winding road will end.

You will see these signs where there is a continuous long section of winding road.

white sign with black text, end rockfall area

End rockfall area signs

These signs show that you are leaving an area where loose rocks could fall or roll onto the road from the embankment above. These will follow a falling rocks warning sign.

Motorway instruction signs

Sign Meaning
white sign with black text, prohibited on motorway, pedestrians, bicycles, animals, agricultural machinery

Prohibited on motorway signs

These signs tell you that you can't enter the motorway if you are:

  • walking
  • riding a bike
  • riding a moped
  • riding an animal
  • driving a tractor or other piece of agricultural machinery.

If the sign applies to you, you must take an alternative route.

white sign with black text, motorway entry restricted when flashing

Motorway entry restricted when flashing signs

These signs show that entry onto the motorway will be restricted when the signal is flashing yellow.

white sign with black text, one vehicle only on green signal

One vehicle only on green signal signs

When you see this sign, only 1 vehicle may enter the motorway when the traffic signal light is green.

white sign with black text, one vehicle per lane on green signal

One vehicle per lane on green signal signs

When you see this sign, only 1 vehicle in each lane may enter the motorway when the traffic signal light is green.

white sign with black text and red x, lane under x closed

Lane under X closed signs

These signs show that the lane under the red cross is closed to traffic. There may be traffic heading in the opposite direction in the identified lane.

You will see this sign with overhead lane control signs.

green sign with a white x through it

Emergency median crossing signs

These signs are put on median strips on motorways where emergency vehicles can cross it. The median strip will have a crossing lane near the sign that only emergency vehicles are allowed to use to turn.

green sign with white arrow and the word to, as well as a white hexagonal badge with a blue number 3 green sign with white arrow and text, to South East Freeway green sign with white arrow and the words to north, as well as a white hexagonal badge with a blue number 3

Motorway approach signs

These signs show the route number and direction to the next town or destination listed on the sign.

You will see them when you are approaching a motorway.

white sign with black text, no stopping on motorway

No stopping on motorway signs

These signs remind you that you aren't allowed to stop on the motorway.

white sign with black arrow and text, service road entry

Service road entry signs

These signs show that a service road entrance is ahead on the left.

white sign with black text, left turn from service road only

Left turn from service road only signs

These signs tell you that you can only turn left when entering the intersection from the service road.

green sign with yellow M2, white arrow pointing up and left from the bottom and the word Ipswichgreen sign with yellow M2 and white text, Ipswich left lane

Designated lane signs

These signs indicate which lane you need to be in to turn when you approach the intersection or exit.

You will see these signs over traffic lanes on busy, multiple-lane roads when approaching intersections or exits.

green sign with yellow M5 and white arrows pointing down at the bottom and the word Brisbane

Overhead motorway signs

These signs show which lane you should be in for a particular:

  • route number
  • town.
green sign with white panel with black text, Mirambeena Dr, distances listed in white and a blue panel with the words service centre and 3 company logos

Reassurance direction signs

These signs show you the distance and order of some approaching destinations.

This example also shows that 1 of the approaching destinations is a service centre.

green sign with white arrow and the word exit

Exit signs

These signs show that you are approaching an exit that turns left off the motorway. The sign may also show the exit number.

white sign with green text, exit 18

Exit supplementary signs

These signs may be added to direction signs to indicate the motorway exit number where a numbering system is used.

green sign with white text, end freeway 2km

End motorway signs

These signs show you that the motorway ends ahead and traffic conditions will change.

Agricultural area signs

Sign Meaning
white sign with black text, sugar cane area. Watch for slow vehicles hauling cane

Sugar cane area signs

These signs show that sugar cane is harvested in the area. Drivers should look out for agricultural and heavy vehicles.

white sign with black text, fruit inspection station

Fruit inspection station signs

These signs show where there are roadside inspection stations for fruit quarantine checks.

white sign with black text, tick quarantine gate ahead, please drive slowly
white sign with black text, tick gate. Stop for examination

Tick quarantine signs

These signs show where there are tick quarantine inspection stations. Vehicles carrying livestock must stop at these stations.

Railway information signs

Sign Meaning
white sign with black text, look for trains

Look for trains signs

These signs warn you to look for approaching trains at the railway crossing.

You will see this sign with railway crossing signs.

white sign with the word railway in black white sign with the word crossing in black

Railway crossing signs

These signs identify a railway crossing.

You will see these signs on the side of high-speed rural roads at railway level crossings.

white sign with black text, keep tracks clear white sign with black text, keep tracks clear, and a black square panel with yellow cross hatching

Keep tracks clear signs

These signs tell pedestrians to push the gate to exit a crossing in an emergency.

They face pedestrian crossings over tracks at railway crossings.

white sign with black text, emergency exit, push gate

Emergency exit, push gate signs

Pedestrians must push the gate to exit in an emergency.

This sign faces pedestrians crossing over tracks at a railway crossing.

Pedestrian and cyclist signs

Sign Meaning
white sign separated into 4 panels with icons of red standing person and green walking person, and the words cross with care, do not cross, start to cross with care, and complete crossing do not start to cross

Cross with care labels

You will see these instructional labels at traffic signals above the pedestrian push-button.

When crossing the road at a signalled crossing you must:

  • not walk across when the red stand symbol is lit up
  • cross with care when the green walk symbol is lit up
  • complete crossing when the red stand symbol is flashing.
white sign with black words watch for, and an icon of a bicycle

Watch for bicycles signs

These signs warn motorists that cyclists may enter the traffic near it because of a road obstruction or hazard. You might see this sign near:

  • bridges
  • where traffic enters from a side street
  • an intersection
  • a multi-lane or single-lane roundabout
  • left-turn slip lanes.

You will see this sign on its own or below a regulatory sign, such as a:

  • stop sign
  • give way sign
  • roundabout sign.
white sign with black icon of a bicycle and the words cyclists dismount

Cyclists dismount signs

These signs tell cyclists that they must get off their bike before crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing.

white sign with black arrow and the words all bicycles

All bicycles signs

All cyclists must follow the route or path shown by the arrow on these signs.
white sign with black icon of a bicycle, the words must exit, and an arrow

Bicycles must exit signs

These signs show cyclists that they must exit the motorway at this sign.

white sign with black icon of a bicycle, the words use ramp, and an arrow

Bicycles use ramp signs

These signs instruct cyclists approaching a motorway ramp to use the ramp.

Cyclists can return to the motorway using the entry ramp ahead or cross the ramp at a defined point to continue along the motorway.

white sign with black icon of a bicycle, the words cross here with care, and an arrow

Bicycles cross here with care signs

These signs show cyclists where to cross the exit ramp to continue along the motorway.

white sign with black icon of a bicycle and the words use left shoulder

Bicycles use left shoulder signs

These signs tell cyclists they must use the left shoulder of the motorway or ramp.

Do you know your road signs?

Refresh your knowledge of road signs. Understanding the meaning of all possible road signs will help keep you safe. 

Last updated
10 September 2015
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