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Why Are Traffic Cones Orange?

Orange traffic cones line the side of a road.
F Armstrong Photography/Shutterstock.com

Have you ever wondered why traffic cones are orange? You might think it’s because orange is a bright color that’s easy to see, but there’s more to it than that.

Traffic cones can actually come in a few different colors: orange, yellow, and green. Each color is carefully communicating a specific message.

Orange traffic cones are communicating that some type of safety hazard is immediately present like heavy construction machinery. Yellow traffic cones warn that there is some potential risk but no immediate danger. Green traffic cones are a rarer sight typically used to gently redirect traffic.

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Orange traffic cones are perhaps the most common. These are often seen marking construction zones on the road. The immediate danger they’re signaling could have to do with a project underway, but they also warn that workers may be present and at risk of harm. So drive carefully!

Since yellow cones signal possible, slight danger, they’re normally used to tell drivers to proceed with caution. They are commonly used in areas where you need to slow down or yield like a school zone which often uses this color.

Green cones don’t signal danger but rather a change in traffic patterns. They are typically used to control the flow of traffic for special occasions like concerts or sporting events.

Understanding the colors of traffic cones, lights, signs, and even road lines can help you be a better driver and stay safe on the road so always keep your eyes peeled for different colors and their meanings.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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