What is a yield sign?

A yield sign is most commonly used on roadways and other areas where there is vehicle traffic. The sign is intended to alert drivers and pedestrians that they need to yield the right of way to another party. These signs will typically be found at an intersection where there is not a huge amount of traffic at any given time. According to most traffic laws in the US, drivers who approach a yield sign need to slow down, check to see if there is any traffic coming on the cross-street, and then proceed. There is generally no need to stop unless there is another vehicle approaching.

Yield Sign vs Yellow Light

An illustration of a red and white yield sign with a sky and cloud background

A yield sign is often compared to a yellow traffic light, but that is actually an inaccurate comparison. The yellow traffic light indicates that the light is about to turn red, and so approaching vehicles either need to stop completely, or quickly proceed through the intersection. Even a flashing yellow light generally means that the oncoming traffic has the right of way, and it is the opposing traffic that needs to yield the right of way.

Appearance of a Yield Sign

In the United States, a yield sign will always be a triangle, with one point facing down. The triangle will have a red outline around the outside, and a white center. In many cases, the word YIELD will be written in black against the white background. This design has changed over the years, with yellow yield signs being the standard up until the 1970s.

Yield Signs in Work Facilities

In many workplaces there will also be yield signs to let people know that they need to watch out for potential dangers. These signs are typically intended to provide instructions to the drivers of high-lows, forklifts, and other equipment. In many cases these vehicles will be traveling in areas where pedestrians are walking, and it is best to have the vehicles yield the right of way. This can help ensure everyone in the area is able to remain safer than would otherwise be possible.


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