Arrow Board Patterns and What Do They Mean?

Sure everyone as come across an arrow board on the highway, in a work zone, or at a major event; but have you ever came across an arrow board that displayed a pattern or mode that you had no idea what it meant? For the most part, arrow boards display arrow patterns like these:



We know what these mean: go left or go right, merge left or merge right. ¬†If you didn’t know, well then, here’s your sign – literally. Of course not all arrow boards perform all of these modes. This depends on the size and the number of lamps an arrow board has, but that’s a different topic.

Have you ever encountered patterns that made you go: huh? Maybe you just thought the arrow board was going “dead” (which may be the case for some arrow board manufacturers). ¬†Here are some not so popular modes some arrow boards can perform:


Arrow Board Caution patterns


Why in the world would an “arrow board” show more than just arrows? The answer is quite important: these patterns are for cautionary warnings. The first one: Corner Caution is the most popular and the only caution pattern required by OSHA. The other two: Caution Bar and Alternating Diamonds are just additional caution modes offered by some manufacturers. Cautionary modes can be used to indicate a work zone, dangerous section, or an accident ahead.


Arrow Boards are temporary traffic control devices used to control traffic, give advanced warning of lane closures, and or guide traffic through work zones or a traffic congested area. Although they are used more for directional warning or guidance, they can be used for their caution display modes. Be cautious of your surroundings, and obey all warning and traffic control signs/devices. They may just save your life; after all, they are there for safety reasons.

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