Types Of Traffic Cones. Why Are There Different Coloured Traffic Cones And What Do They Mean?

As you drive around UK roads, you’re bound to see a traffic cone or two. They’re regular features on road work sites, where events are taking place and in other areas. But when you look closely, you’ll notice that they’re not all the same. 

Traffic cones come in a variety of colours and each one has a different meaning. If you’ve been struggling to understand what these cones are trying to tell you, this guide will give you all the information you need. 

Why Are There Different Coloured Traffic Cones?

We are all accustomed to seeing red or orange traffic cones on or along the side of the road. But of late, you may have noticed a few more colours coming into view. This isn’t just to brighten up the roads and make things more visually pleasing for drivers.

The Highways Agency has enforced the use of various colours of traffic cones in order to improve the safety of work sites. These new colours are used to mark out areas of sites that may contain particular dangers and make things clearer for everyone involved. 

However, it’s important to be aware that the Highways Agency stresses these cones are not designed to replace any other signage but to supplement it and make it easier to understand. 

What Are The Different Coloured Traffic Cones And What Do They Mean?

If you’ve been scratching your head and wondering what this rainbow of traffic cones means for you as a road user, worry no more; here is our clear guide to the meaning of different coloured traffic cones. 


We’re all familiar with the concept that red is often used to denote danger of a hazard and this is no different when it comes to traffic cones. 

Red traffic cones can be found at the entrance to an area which may contain imminent danger. This danger could result in a serious injury or could potentially be fatal. 

It is important to note that, owing to the changes in visibility due to harsh sunlight, these cones can sometimes appear to look more orange than red. The cones should therefore be placed in a position that reduces the risk of this effect as much as possible. 


When you’re driving around the roads in the UK, the most common colour of traffic cones you’ll see is orange. These are used to let you know that there may be a danger that could result in injury or death. 

For the most part, you’ll see orange traffic cones around work sites and construction areas. They provide road users and pedestrians with information which allows them to proceed with caution and move through the area more slowly. 

Yellow and White

The new yellow traffic cones with a white reflective strip are used in a very similar way to the traditional red or orange cones. They will tell road users that there is a potential risk coming up but this risk is usually not as severe as one that would be marked out by a red or orange cone. 

Green and White

You won’t miss a green and white traffic cone as they’re a bright, lime green and there’s a good reason for this colour. It’s used to attract immediate attention and tells road users and pedestrians that there is an entrance to a work site. However, you will also see these cones in areas where there is more pedestrian activity than usual, noting potential hazards.

Blue and White

If you see a blue and white traffic cone, this is telling you that there is some kind of danger or hazard around you. A lot of the time, they will be used to let you know that there is an overhead structure. This could be a power line or a bridge, for example. 

If the overhead structure comes with a very serious risk, such as a power line, then the cones may be slightly different in appearance. Rather than just having a standard blue colour with a white reflective sleeve, the cone will feature a yellow sleeve that is marked with the words ‘Danger, Overhead Cables.’


It seems as though there has been a surge in the number of traffic cones we see on and around UK roads. It’s not that there are more but that the Highways Agency has introduced a new colour scheme, bringing in some brightly coloured and noticeable traffic cones. 

These aren’t merely there to decorate the roads and make them look a little more interesting. These new coloured traffic cones tell us of varying levels of danger as well as marking out specific hazards. It’s important to pay attention to what these cones are telling you as well as the accompanying signage you’ll often find with them in order to keep yourself safe on the road and around work sites.

Driveway Expert