LTO Road Signs, also known as Traffic Signs, are simple arrows and pictures that indicate vital information on the road for vehicles and drivers to understand. These are employed to prevent collisions, ensure safety, and make driving on public highways more pleasant.

The majority of road signs can be found above or beside a highway, a curved road, a crossroads, a bridge, a slippery road, and so forth. This is a method of informing drivers of the impending road situation, such as if they need to stop, slow down, make a hard right turn, or take other measures.

Use our Philippines road signs guide to learn about all of the signs, their meanings, and where you’re most likely to see them on the road


Regulatory signs

Regulatory signs are a collection of symbols used to display or enforce traffic laws, regulations, or requirements that apply at all times or at specific times or locations on a street or highway.

These kinds of indicators aid in traffic flow management. It covers the most common traffic signs that all drivers should be aware of.

Regulatory Signs

There are six subgroups of signs in this regulatory sign group:

  • Priority
  • prohibitive/restrictive direction
  • The speed limit 
  • Stopping and parking
  • Miscellaneous signs

The most popular signs are stop signs, parking signs, and speed limit signs, which are all easily understood without the need for interpretation. The load and size limitation signs, which indicate what class of vehicles are authorized to enter a specific road or bridge at a given moment, are less common.

Other road users who may be crossing the roads, such as walkers, children, bicycles, or people with impairments, are also included in this category of signage.


Warning signs

The recurring pattern on display is an ascending triangle outlined in red, as shown in the image below. Typically, these road signs warn vehicles of upcoming road layouts or potential hazards.

Road width, traffic signals, crossroads, and other barriers are all represented to help drivers be more aware of their surroundings before crossing the road.

Warning Signs


Informative signs 

These road signs indicate the destination ahead or after a certain turn or exit.

Alternatively, these indicators can advise drivers where they are now and where they might be going if they continue in this path. This sign is usually seen when the next stop is a major one, such as a gas station or a tourist attraction.

Other sorts of road signs, symbols, and markers, such as milestones, are also widespread in the Philippines. These distance indicators, for example, indicate the distance between them and Luneta Park.

Informative road signs


Signs on expressways

These signs are typically blue or green in color, although they can also be a neutral white color to signify directional instructions. They can be red to make motorists more aware of the need to slow down.

signs on expressways


Traffic Instruction 

Signs are used to direct the flow of traffic in a specific location. Motorists in Metro Manila can use these road markers to limit or allow particular movements.

Traffic Instruction


Hazard Markers

This sort of road sign is typically found in rural areas with only two lanes, denoting the route’s direction.

When hazard markings are placed along the side of the road, however, they indicate where the approaching car should turn. It can also be used to designate two-way roads and provide early warning if there is a barrier ahead.

Hazard markers are widely used to show which way the road is heading.

Hazard Markers


Road work signs

In truth, you could first notice the roadworks before noticing the sign. Due to oncoming construction, road work signs warn drivers and motorists to slow down or merge into the opposite lane.

Road work signs


The history of road signs

Have you ever walked down the street and noticed how many road signs there are and wondered, “How and when were they invented?”

The Romans developed roads thousands of years ago to make it easier to travel from one location to another. This was due to the fact that roads made it easier to transport people, goods, and food to supply the army.

The Romans also placed mile markers at crossroads to indicate how far it took to travel to Rome. So it’s reasonable to say that the history of road signs may be traced back to the Romans, who created the first road markers in the most basic forms.

It’s difficult to pinpoint who is to blame for the invention of automobiles. Automobiles, like bicycles, were conceived hundreds of years before becoming a practical product. 

For example, in the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci started creating concepts for automobiles.

Karl Friedrich Benz is credited with inventing the first gasoline-powered automobile in 1885 or 1886, though this is debatable. The first automotive manufacturing firm in the United States was founded in 1893 by brothers Charles Edgar Duryea and Frank Duryea.

Regardless, the emergence of the automobile meant that signage became much more important.

The Italian Touring Club established one of the first structured signing systems in or around 1895. The Congress of International Touring Organizations began discussing road signage standards in the early 1900s in Paris. 

Nine European nations chose four pictorial symbol signs as a standard in their territories in 1909.



The American Automobile Association’s early signs, for example, were made of wood and mounted on iron columns. 

During World War II, many historic signs were subsequently used to produce metal. The first stop sign, a two-by-two-foot sheet of metal with black text on a white background, was put in Detroit in 1915.

The signs were not reflective at this time in history, and there was no standardization amongst government institutions. Cars moved at a slow pace, and drivers were encouraged to keep an eye out for other vehicles and hazards.

People were traveling on routes they were unfamiliar with as vehicle traffic began to develop in the 1920s, and they were not cautioned about potential hazards. It was time to go for a more uniform appearance.



With people getting lost, motor clubs squabbling over who gets to put up a sign, and utter traffic pandemonium, standard signs became a necessity. 

You’ll be grateful for a stop sign or a construction sign the next time you see one. Early travelers undoubtedly spent more time getting lost than enjoying their journey.

W. F. Rosenwald of Minnesota, J. T. Donaghey of Wisconsin, and A. H. Hinkle of Indiana began standardization in 1922 when they traveled across numerous states trying to come up with some standards or uniformity for marking and signing roadways. 

They presented their findings at the Mississippi Valley Association of State Highway Departments’ annual meeting in 1923. (MVASHD). After lengthy deliberation, the group decided on a set of different shapes to be employed in various contexts. 

The following were the shapes:

  • Railroad crossing warning (round)
  • Octagon: To come to a halt
  • To demonstrate that measures must be taken in a certain location, use a diamond.
  • Square: To demonstrate that some caution is required on occasion.
  • Rectangular: For information about directions or regulations.
  • Highways are often marked with a star-shaped sign.

White backgrounds with black letters or symbols were required on all signs. The border and text or emblems would be embossed  or forced into the metal rather than hand-painted as in the past. 

The writing, emblem, and border were all painted black after being dipped in paint. This method allows for the production of bigger volumes of signage. However, because the apparatus could only produce signs up to 24 inches in length, the MVASHD adopted this as their standard sign size.

Colors on road signs for immediate communication:

  • Stop, yield, and prohibition are all examples of red.
  • Regulatory notice on a white background
  • Yellow indicates a general warning notice.
  • Green indicates that traffic movement and directional instructions are permitted.
  • Yellow or green fluorescent: Pedestrian or school crossings
  • Warnings and directions in construction zones are displayed in orange.
  • Road service, tourist information, or evacuation routes are all represented in blue.
  • Brown: Directions to places of recreational or cultural importance

Before the 1950s, traffic signage in the United Kingdom was a disaster. Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert, graphic designers, worked together to establish standard and easy-to-read road signage. They designed new signs based on the European norm that triangular signs warn, circles command, and rectangles convey information, after testing many variations. More than words, they employed drawings or pictograms.

An image may sometimes convey a message far more quickly than words, which is exactly what British drivers required.


Why is it vital to know how to read road signs and what they mean?

Whether you believe it or not, traffic signs were designed long before the first automobiles were even conceived. 

These road signs and symbols have now become an important part of traffic laws to safeguard the safety of road users. As a result, understanding traffic road signs and their meanings is critical.

Drivers and other road users can get useful information from traffic signs. They convey habits that will keep you safe and communicate messages to other drivers and pedestrians in symbol language.

More and more traffic signs are using graphics or symbols instead of words to make them easier to read and interpret, even by persons who speak a range of languages.



We hope that by reading this article, Pinoy drivers will have a basic awareness of not only the most prevalent road signs in the Philippines and their meanings but also the significance of road signs to our own safety.

Even experienced drivers appear to lack or refuse to heed traffic road signs and interpretations, which is a crucial skill for drivers.

Keep your eyes on the road and keep reading MGS Insurance stories for more useful ideas and guidance.