Driver's Prep - Free DMV tests

Curve and Turn Signs – Learn How to Tell Them Apart for the DMV Test

Curve, Turn, Winding Road signs -

Curve and Turn Signs

When you see just one of the signs above, it may not always be obvious what the sign means, even if you understand that the roadway no longer continues straight ahead.

Together with the Reverse Turn and Reverse Curve signs, they sometimes become a pitfall on the written DMV test.

Curve Sign - Photo by Athena

What Does the Curve Sign Mean?

Which is a Curve sign and what does it mean?

The first sign is the Curve sign. Or, in a more professional language, it is one of some different horizontal alignment warning signs.

As you can tell from the symbol, the sign warns you that the road curves gradually to the left.

The sign is placed before a curve where you should slow down before entering the curve. The posted speed limit may not be safe when going through the curve. Therefore, the curve sign may have an additional plaque with a recommended (advisory) speed.

Curve Sign with Advisory Speed

The advisory speed can also be printed on the curve sign itself (as in the example above).

What Does the Turn Sign Mean?

If you look at the Turn sign, you will see that the symbol shows a change horizontal alignment that is 90 degrees.

Turn Sign with Advisory Speed

It tells you that the curve is sharper and that it is no longer a gradual change in direction, but an abrupt turn.

This sign is used when the turn ahead has an advisory speed of 30 mph or less. So, when you see a Turn sign, it is always a good idea to slow down before you enter the curve.

Remember to reduce speed BEFORE the curve and not when you have entered the curve. Braking inside a curve can cause you to skid and loose of control of your vehicle.

For additional emphasis and guidance through a sharp turn, you will often see the Chevron sign posted on the outside of the curve. This is especially helpful at night or when visibility is poor.

A yellow warning sign with a directional arrow has the same meaning and tells you to turn in the direction of arrow.

Chevrons - Image by Veronica Bosley

What is a Reverse Turn or Reverse Curve Sign?

So far, we talked about the Curve and the Turn signs. They alert you to a single curve or turn ahead.

When there are TWO turns or curves ahead, you will often see one of these two signs:

Reverse Curve, Reverse Turn

The first shows that the road curves to the left and then to right.

The second sign alerts you to a sharp turn to the left, and then to the right.

The signs are used when there are two changes in roadway alignment. The changes are in opposite directions, which is why these signs are known as Reverse Curve (W1-4) and Reverse Turn (W1-3).

What Does the Winding Road Sign Mean?

Sometimes, the roadway ahead will have many curves or turns. Then, you will probably see the Winding Road sign.

This sign is posted on a roadway with more than two turns or curves where each turn or curve is separated by less than 600 feet.

If there is an advisory speed plaque below the sign, it is a good idea to always slow down to the recommended speed, especially when you are on an unfamiliar road or when visibility is poor. You should also keep to the right in your lane and avoid straddling the center lines.

Passing is often not allowed on these roadways.

There may also be a distance plaque, telling you how many miles of winding road you should expect ahead.

Don’t Mistake Winding Road for the Slippery When Wet Sign

The road sign that warns you of a winding road can easily be mixed up with the Slippery When Wet sign . For your test, you should make sure you also can tell these two signs apart!

Permit Test - Touch Screen

Check Your Knowledge of Alignment Signs



Good job! You’ve got this?

Check the signs again! You should know this!

#1. This sign means:

#2. What should you expect ahead?

#3. Whis sign warns of ONE sharp turn ahead?

#4. Which sign alerts you to TWO gradual curves ahead?

See your result


Learn More

Practice Tests for Your State’s DMV Test

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.