TUESDAY TRIVIA: Have Stop Signs Always Been Red?

An octagonal red sign doesn’t even need a word on it for most people to recognize it as a stop sign.

Stop signs in the U.S. have not always been red.

What color were they originally?

According to multiple sources, there were a variety of colors and shapes used for stop signs until the late 1920s. In 1922, the American Association of State Highway Officials met to select a standard design. They chose the octagon shape so drivers could recognize it even if they were coming in the opposite direction. They chose a yellow design with black letters, for maximum visibility.

Sources say the color red was considered, because red already meant “stop” on electric traffic lights, but there was no dye at the time that was fade-resistant. However, by 1954, a durable fade-resistant red coating for sign faces was available, so the background color of the stop sign was changed.