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regulatory signs
Regulatory Signs

These signs give a direction that must be obeyed. They are usually rectangular or square with a white or black background and black, white or colored letters. A sign with a green circle means you may or must do the activity shown inside the ring. A red circle with a line through it means the activity shown is not allowed.


A yield sign is a triangle with a white background and a red border. It means you must let traffic in the intersection or close to it go first.

Stop if necessary and go only when the way is clear

This road is an official bicycle route. Watch for cyclists and be prepared to share the road with them.
No pedestrians allowed on this road.

Keep to the right of the traffic island.


These signs mean lanes are only for specific types of vehicles, all the time. Different symbols are used for the different types of vehicles. They include: buses, taxis, vehicles with three or more people, bicycles.

temporary conditions
Temporary Conditions

These signs warn of unusual temporary conditions such as road work zones, diversions, detours, lane closures or traffic control people on the road. They are usually diamond-shaped with an orange background and black letters or symbols.Here are some of the common temporary condition signs:


You are entering a construction zone. Drive with extra caution and be prepared for a lower speed limit.

Survey crew working on the road ahead.

warning signs
Warning Signs

These signs warn of dangerous or unusual conditions ahead such as a curve, turn, dip or sideroad. They are usually diamond-shaped and have a yellow background with black letters or symbols. Here are some common warning signs:


Intersection ahead. The arrow shows which direction of traffic has the right-of-way.

Drivers on the sideroad at the intersection ahead don't have a clear view of traffic.


Chevron (arrow-head) signs are posted in groups to guide drivers around sharp curves in the road


These signs warn of a school crossing. Watch for children and follow the directions of the crossing guard or school safety patroller

information and direction signs
Information and Direction Signs

These signs tell you about distances and destinations. They are usually rectangular with a green background and white letters. Other signs with different colors guide you to facilities, services and attractions.

Here are some common informational signs:


Sometimes one or more lanes may lead off the highway. The arrows matching the exit lanes are shown on the advance sign in a yellow box with the word ‘exit' under them.


These signs change according to traffic conditions to give drivers current information on delays and lane closures ahead.

emergency detour routes edr
Emergency Detour Routes (EDR)

Ontario's highways carry over eight million drivers and nine million registered vehicles every year. Thousands of businesses rely on highways to move more than $1.2 trillion worth of goods annually to domestic and international markets.


The Ministry of Transportation believes that a safe, efficient and integrated transportation system is key to strong communities, economic prosperity and growth.

While Ontario maintains an impressive safety record in North America, incidents occur on provincial highways resulting in delays to the transportation of goods and services and the driving public.


To reduce these delays, the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario Good Roads Association, Ontario Provincial Police, local police and representatives from various municipalities in Ontario formed a task force to develop guidelines and best practices that will allow safe and orderly control of traffic on Emergency Detour Routes (EDRs).


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do we need Emergency Detour Routes (EDRs)?

To provide drivers with a pre-determined route when a provincial highway is closed.

2.When are emergency highway closures necessary?

These unscheduled closures are required when a highway is physically impassable or when emergency work cannot be performed in traffic.


3.How long will the Emergency Detour Route (EDR) be activated?

The duration of a highway closure will vary depending on the extent and nature of the incident. Most incidents normally require approximately two to three hours to clear.

4.Who decides when the highway should be closed or opened?

The police have the authority to close highways. An officer at the incident will determine when to reopen the highway and deactivate the Emergency Detour Route (EDR).


5. How will I know what route to follow?

Signs, as shown inFigure 1, will be located on the highway at the start of the Emergency Detour Route (EDR). Signs, as shown inFigure 2, will be placed along the route that should be followed.

Figure 1 – Emergency Detour Route (EDR). This sign will be visible near the start of the closure.

Figure 2 - Emergency Detour Route (EDR) Markers.Used to guide motorists along the designated route. Follow these back to the highway.


I have a large truck carrying an oversized or overweight load. Can I use the Emergency Detour Route (EDR)?

No. Oversized or overweight loads travel under permit-defined routes and are not permitted on any other route. The police will direct you to park in a safe location on the highway until it reopens.

  • I live in an area that the Emergency Detour Route (EDR) goes through. How will I be affected?

While the Emergency Detour Route (EDR) is activated there will be an increase in traffic. This might also include more trucks. Local police or municipal staff might be present to direct traffic at key intersections and monitor the use of the Emergency Detour Route (EDR).


How are the Emergency Detour Routes (EDRs) selected?

Emergency Detour Routes (EDRs) are developed by the municipality with the MTO and the police. They are based on several factors including travel time and a route's ability to efficiently accommodate increased traffic volumes.


For further information on Emergency Detour Routes (EDR), contact one of the Ministry's Regional Offices at: