Road Signs

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Road Signs


figures of a certain shape, size, and color that are erected on highways and city streets to caution drivers and pedestrians against dangerous areas and to provide information on restrictions being introduced or on other particular features of the traffic conditions. In the USSR, six road signs were first standardized and introduced in 1927. In 1933 the number of signs was increased to 22; in 1953, to 39; and in 1960, to 55. In 1964 the opportunities for providing information on traffic conditions were significantly expanded, and the number of different signs and indicators for them reached 78.

In the USSR a system has been adopted in which conventional symbols are put on the road signs; the symbols are perceived more rapidly than inscriptions, particularly if the inscriptions are in a language unfamiliar to the viewer. The graphics and technical specifications of the road signs approved by GOST (All-Union State Standard) 10807-71 have been developed according to the requirements of the Road Signs and Signals Convention (1968, Vienna), as well as the European Agreement (1971, Geneva), which supplements it. The state standard, which includes 126 different signs and indicators for them (including variations), has established four groups of road signs (warning, prohibition, directing, and indicating), as well as additional means of information. The main distinguishing features of the signs, which determine their placement in one or another group, are their shape and the color of the background and border.

Warning signs (the general warning feature is a yellow triangle with a red border) inform the driver of the nature of an approaching danger and the need to take measures corresponding to the situation, but—except for sign 1.6 (yield right-of-way)—they do not introduce any additional restrictions in traveling through the designated places. Prohibition signs (the general feature of a prohibition is a yellow circle with a red border, with the exception of signs 2.1 (no entry), 2.15 (stop), 2.22 (no stopping), 2.23 (no parking), and 2.25 (signs denoting end of restrictions), which differ in their field color and shape) introduce definite restrictions in traffic. [The numbers refer to the diagrams facing pp. 464-65 in Bol’shaia Sovetskaia Entsiklopediia, vol. 8.] Directing signs (the general feature of directing is a light blue circle) permit traffic in only certain directions at a specified speed. Indicating signs (the general feature of indication is a rectangle) inform the driver of particular features of the road situation, provide a reminder of the obligation to fulfill the requirements of the traffic rules that correspond to the situation, and provide information on the location of designated objects on the route. In addition to signs 4.5 (city or village limits), 4.6 (end of city or village limits), and 4.14-4.17 (signs indicating distance and direction) with inscriptions in Russian, signs in the republics of the USSR, when necessary, may be erected with inscriptions in national languages; on tourist routes, signs with inscriptions in Latin letters giving the pronunciation of the names in the corresponding national language may be used. The use of warning and prohibition signs, as well as the indicating signs 4.5a and 4.5b (city or village limit), with a white background is also permissible. However, signs with the same background color should be erected on a given road (in a city or large populated area as a whole). Additional information in the forms of diagrams is used when necessary to clarify, restrict, or intensify the effect of the road signs. The color of the diagrams corresponds to the background of the warning or prohibition sign with which they are used.

All road signs should be illuminated or covered with a light-reflecting material that allows their recognition in the dark at a distance of at least 100 m. The signs are erected only with the symbol facing the traffic. If the traffic conditions are such that the signs located on the right side of the road may not be seen by drivers, they should be repeated above the roadway, on the divider, or on the left side of the road or street. The erection and maintenance of the signs, which provides their conformity to the requirements of the standards, are carried out by organizations responsible for the streets and roads.

GOST 10807-71 was introduced on July 1, 1972. However, because of economic considerations in regard to individual signs, gradual introduction has been planned, as follows:

(1) by July 1, 1973—signs 2.22 (no stopping); 2.23 (no parking); 2.25a (end of passing restriction), 2.25b (end of passing restriction for trucks), and 2.25c (end of speed limit); and 4.5a (city limits); and indicator 5.1 (zone of validity of sign);

(2) by January 1975—signs 1.5b and 1.5c (intersection of a secondary road or street with a main road or street) and 1.6 (yield right-of-way), with indicators 5.2a (distance to object) or 5.2c (distance and direction to object); 1.11a and 1.11b (winding road); 1.17b and 1.17c (road narrows); 2.15 (stop); 4.6 (leaving city or village limits); 4.8 (lane direction indicators); 4.9a and 4.9b (one-way signs); 4.13 (pedestrian crossing); and 4.24 (restaurant facilities).


GOST 10807-71: Znaki i ukazateli dorozhnye.
GOST 8442-65: Znaki putevye i signal’nye zheleznykh dorog.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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