Emergency Diversion Route Sign: Appearance, Usage, Meaning, Actions and Related Signs

You see the Emergency Diversion Route Sign on UK motorways and major roads. It is displayed when regular routes are disrupted. This sign indicates that you must follow a specific diversion. It is marked by shapes, such as triangles, circles, squares, or diamonds, on a yellow background. The diversion is to go around a closure and then return to your initial route​. Related signs include various directional and regulatory signs. This ensures a smooth transition back to the motorway.

Appearance and Where the Sign is Used

Emergency diversion route sign shows a black symbol on a yellow background. The symbol itself can be one of eight variations. It can be a square, circle, triangle, or diamond. Each of these shapes can have a solid black fill or a hollow outline. These signs are not permanent. They are only displayed when a road closure needs a diversion.

Meaning of symbols showing emergency diversion route

The specific black symbol displayed on the sign does not hold meaning for the driver. There can be many emergency diversions at once. Each diversion route will get a unique symbol.

Where will I see these signs?

The signs are on existing road signs. These show direction or upcoming junctions. They can also be on yellow standalone signs. These signs were placed along the diversion route.

What Does it Mean and How Should You React?

An emergency diversion route sign means a road closure ahead. The sign shows an alternative route. It goes around the closed section and meets the original road further ahead. The diversion route itself will be marked with the same black symbol you saw on the initial sign.

Do I have to use the diversion route?

Yes. By law, you must follow the diversion route. It’s for when a road is closed and marked by an emergency diversion sign. Attempting to drive through the closed section is dangerous and illegal.

What if I miss the initial diversion sign?

If you miss the initial sign with the black symbol, watch for temporary road signs. They have a red circle and a white diagonal bar (prohibition sign). This indicates the road is closed ahead. If you see this sign, slow down and find a safe place to turn around or pull over. Use your sat nav or a map to find an alternative route.

Will the diversion route take longer?

Most likely, yes. We choose emergency diversion routes to be safe for most vehicles. But, they may not be as direct as the original route. Plan for a longer journey time when encountering a diversion.

Similar and Related Signs

The emergency diversion route sign stands out. But, you might see similar and related signs with key info while following a diversion.

Similar Signs

These signs share some looks with the emergency diversion route sign. But, they have different meanings.

Temporary Speed Limit Signs

These signs show a black number on a white background within a red circle. They say that a temporary speed limit in effect for a specific stretch of road.

Do temporary speed limits apply on diversion routes?

Yes, temporary speed limits can apply on diversion routes. A diversion route is needed for roadwork, accidents, or other incidents. They require a lower speed for safety.

  • Look out for temporary speed limit signs displayed along the diversion route. These signs will have a black number on a white background inside a red circle. The number shows the maximum speed limit. You are legally allowed to travel that fast on that road.
  • Always stick to the posted temporary speed limit. They are in place to ensure the safety of yourself, other drivers, and road workers (if present).
How can I identify the end of a temporary speed limit zone?

Temporary speed limit zones end in one of two ways:

End of Speed Limit Sign

A white sign with a black circle and a diagonal line will be displayed. This indicates the temporary speed limit is over. You can now resume the normal speed limit for the road.

Return to Original Road

If the diversion rejoins the original road, the old speed limit applies. You no longer need to follow the temporary speed limit.

It’s important to stay alert and watch for signage throughout the diversion route. This includes temporary speed limit signs and those indicating the end of the zone.

Related Signs

These signs provide additional information relevant to navigating a diversion route.

Lane Closure Signs

These signs display a yellow diamond with a black diagonal line through one or more lanes. They indicate a lane closure ahead, which might be part of the diversion route.

Do I Need to Change Lanes If I See a Lane Closure Sign on a Diversion Route?

It depends on the specific situation. Here’s how to navigate lane closures on a diversion route:

  1. Check the lane closure sign. It will show a yellow diamond with a black line through one or more lanes. This indicates which lanes are closed further ahead on the diversion route.
  2. Plan your lane change if needed. If your lane has a black diagonal line, you will need to change lanes to avoid the closure. However, only change lanes if it is safe to do so. Look for gaps in traffic and signal your intention to change lanes well in advance.
  3. Stay in your lane if it’s safe. If the lane you’re in is not marked for closure, you can stay in it and keep following the diversion route.

Remember, safety is important. Don’t attempt a risky lane change to avoid a closure. If you miss the lane change or are unsure, signal safely. Slow down until you can find a safe place to pull over. Check your map or sat nav for an alternative route around the closure within the diversion.

What If the Lane I’m Using Is Closed on the Diversion Route?

If you find yourself in the lane that is closed on the diversion route, stay calm and focus on safety. Here’s what to do:

  1. Maintain a safe speed and slow down gradually. Don’t come to a sudden stop, as this could cause an accident with vehicles behind you.
  2. Use your indicator to signal your intention to pull over. Look for a safe place on the roadside where you can stop your car without obstructing traffic.
  3. Once stopped, turn off your engine and hazard lights. Use your map or sat nav to find a route around the closure within the diversion. Or, consider calling a breakdown service for help.

Remember, it’s important to be prepared for unexpected situations on diversion routes. Pay close attention to signage and anticipate potential lane closures. If you find a closed lane, prioritise safety. Find a safe place to pull over. Plan your next move before rejoining the diversion route.