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Arrow Directional Signage: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the uses of Arrow Directional Signs?


Navigation: Arrow Directional signs help everyone navigate effortlessly to reach a particular destination.

Information/Identification: Wayfinding and Directional Arrow Signs provide information and guidance to vehicle users and pedestrians alike without leaving any room for confusion or doubt. Whether it’s a large warehouse, hotel, university campus, office, event ground, or a hospital, directional arrow signs tell everyone where they need to go and how to get there.

Warning Ahead: If they are used outdoors, the arrow signs can direct traffic to the nearest parking, entrance, upcoming one-way, curves, turns, U-turns, roundabouts, or any other changing road conditions ahead.

Supplemental Signs: Directional Signs are often placed underneath another sign – to reinforce instructions or directions.

Q. How can directional arrows prevent wastage of time?


Directional arrows are almost universally recognizable. People will understand which way to head just by looking at the arrow. Simple and clear directional signage greatly reduces the time required in deciding which way to go that people would otherwise waste in asking other people or the traffic control officer. Arrows let you focus on other important tasks rather than thinking about how to move from point A to B. Having to ask people for directions repeatedly would distract you from your other responsibilities.

Q. When should the arrow sign be used as supplemental signs?


According to MUTCD Section 2C.56, if the condition indicated by a warning sign is located on an intersecting road and the distance between the intersection and the condition is not sufficient to provide adequate advance placement of the warning sign, a Supplemental Arrow Sign must be used below the warning sign. 

Arrow Signs shall also be used as supplemental signs below route signs in directional assemblies displaying a single- or a double-headed arrow pointing in the direction that the route follows (MUTCD Section 2D.26).

Q. Does MUTCD provide any specifications for arrow traffic signs?


MUTCD Section 2C.12 mentions that the One-Direction Large Arrow Signs shall be a horizontal rectangle with an arrow pointing to the left or right while Section 2C.25 lays specifications for Double Arrow Signs. These must be black on the yellow, horizontal rectangular signs with a large horizontal double-headed arrow.

Supplemental Arrow signs are usually referred to as “plaques” in the MUTCD. Table 2C-2 of MUTCD mentions that Supplemental Arrow Signs must be 24 inches in width and 18 inches in height. These signs shall also be black on yellow.

MUTCD Section 2D.26 includes some requirements for Advance Turn Arrow Auxiliary Signs. The signs must display a right or left arrow, the shaft of which is bent at a 90-degree angle or a 45-degree angle. Arrow Traffic Signs must be black on white, measuring 21 inches in width and 15 inches in height.

For detailed specifications on each of these arrow signs, refer to MUTCD Chapter 2C.

Q. Where should Arrow Directional Signs be mounted in a parking lot?


Arrow Directional Signs must point out specific paths and must be mounted at decision points that will direct people to their destination within the parking structure. Places such as parking entrance, exit or “out”, additional parking, elevators, and stairs must always be marked with directional arrows.

According to MUTCD Section 2B.40, if there is a parking restriction in an area or zone, it should be shown by arrows or supplemental plaques. Arrow signs can be mounted at the end of a parking zone (with a single-headed arrow), at an intermediate point in the zone (with a double-headed arrow), or at the transition point between two parking zones (with a right and left arrow).

Q. What are Chevron Alignment signs?


Chevron Alignment Signs contain a black arrowhead on a yellow background. The signs provide additional emphasis and guidance for a change in horizontal alignment on the road. Chevron arrow signs can be used as a replacement for standard delineators. Chevron Alignment signs shall be installed on the outside of a turn or curve, in line with and at approximately a right angle to approaching traffic. MUTCD requires the signs to be installed at a minimum height of 4 feet, measured vertically from the bottom of the sign to the elevation of the near edge of the road.

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