Always Abide to the Road Signs in China

Harry Fozzard   |   August 24, 2021

Whether you are going on a vacation, or are moving permanently, there are many important road signs in China you must remember. Being familiar with these road signs can help you get to your destination safer, easier and faster. It is also a great way to prevent yourself from being lost and to avoid confusion, as there are not so many locals who can speak English very fluently.

China Road Signs are almost the same as with any other country, except for the Chinese letters and symbols on the signs. The most important thing to remember, if you do not know how to read and write Chinese, is the color and the shape of the signs, and the symbols as well. If you see a red octagon with a big white Chinese text, this refers to the Stop Sign that we normally see at crossings or pedestrian lanes. A blue circle with a red border and a red “X” refers to a Clearway. A white triangle pointing down with a red border means Give Way. Other triangular signs are warning signs or danger signs. The image inside the triangle is the subject of the warning. Examples are sharp curve ahead, cattle, children crossing, crossroad, overhead wires, falling debris, road works, tunnel, two-way traffic, roundabout, traffic lights, railway crossing, slippery road, and many others.

Other China traffic signals include signs that give negative orders which mean “do not”. These are white circles with red borders and a symbol in the circle. A sign with the number 20 on it means that the speed limit for that road or area is 20 mph. Other symbols pertain to the weight, height and length limit for vehicles passing through, usually in feet and inches. A circle with a black and red car means No Overtaking. A circle with a red diagonal bar across the sign means “no”. These signs can be a No U-Turn, no left turn, or no right turn, depending on the symbol on the sign.

Signs giving positive order are usually blue, green, or black and white in color. A blue circle with a white arrow means Ahead Only. A Bus and Bicycle Lane symbol is a square or rectangle with the images on it. A Bus Lane symbol is a black and white rectangle with an arrow pointing to the direction where the bus lane is. A green circle means Go. A blue rectangle with an “H” is the sign that you are passing by a Hospital Area. A blue rectangle with a “P” means Parking Area or parking is allowed. A white circle with a black diagonal bar means that the National Speed Limit should be followed strictly.

Remember that warning signs are usually yellow in color, diamond shaped, rectangular shaped, circular shaped, or triangular shaped with an exclamation point, or text that indicates the warning. Priority signs are triangular in shape, white in color with red borders, and indicate the order in which vehicles should pass an intersection. Prohibitory traffic signs are circular in shape, with black or red borders and a diagonal bar, emphasizing what is being restricted. Information and facilities signs are usually bold signs with one letter inside, indicating parking areas, or hospital areas. Other signs for facilities include restaurants, schools, and other buildings