A Definitive Guide to Traffic Cones


We think traffic cones are a bit of an unsung hero when it comes to safety. These unassuming cone-shaped markers help to redirect traffic, control crowds, make you aware of hazards, and more. How much do you know about them? Here’s our definitive guide.

What types of traffic cone are there?

There are several different types of traffic cone, all with different uses. The main traffic cones we supply are reflective traffic cones which can be easily seen at night and sand weighted traffic cones that will stand their ground even in blowy weather conditions.

Both of these cones are orange, but as you’ve probably noticed when you’re driving around, not all traffic cones are. They come in a range of different colours and each colour has a different meaning.

Traffic cone colours and what they mean


This is the standard colour for a road cone. You’ll see these mostly on roads and around work/construction sites. They either signify a hazard or are commonly used for parking control.

Yellow and white

This colour cone indicates that you aren’t allowed to stop or wait in this area.

Blue and white

If you see this colour traffic cone, it means that there’s a possible risk overhead to be aware of, such as power lines.

Green and white

You’ll often see these on motorways when there are roadworks. They indicate an opening to access lanes.


Everyone knows red means danger. You’ll see these cones in areas where’s there’s a hazard that could cause injury or even death.

What kind of things are traffic cones used for?

Traffic cones are used in many situations, including:

Redirecting traffic

Merging traffic during roadworks

Controlling car park traffic at busy events

Indicating when a road is closed (when there has been an accident, for example).

What sizes do traffic cones come in?

Did you know that the height of a traffic cone you see on any given road depends on the speed limit of that road? If the speed limit is between 30 and 50mph, the cones used must be 450mm tall or above.  For roads with a speed limit exceeding 50mph, cones must be 750mm tall or above.

What are traffic cones made of?

Early traffic cones were made from concrete. You definitely wouldn’t want one of those to meet the bumper of your car! Modern traffic cones are made from durable plastic or rubber which means that even if you accidentally clip one, it won’t do any damage.

Facts about traffic cones for the pub quiz

Are you fond of the randomness of some of the questions you get asked in the pub quiz? Well just in case you get any on traffic cones, here are some fun and interesting facts.

When were traffic cones first used in the UK?

In the 1950’s, 1958 to be precise. They graced a stretch of the then M1, the UK’s first motorway, that went past Preston.

What’s behind the shape of traffic cones?

I don’t know about you, but a traffic cone always reminds us of a witches’ hat. So why are they shaped this way? Basically, it’s the best shape for their purpose. The firm base keeps them stable in strong winds and the tapered top makes them easy to stack.

Is it a crime to steal a traffic cone?

You may think that the students stealing cones on a night out are just having a laugh. But did you know that they’re actually committing a crime? Section 22A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that it’s a criminal offence to interfere with traffic equipment. The obvious reason is because cones are there to indicate a hazard and removing them could put someone in danger.

Looking to buy traffic cones?

For traffic control and safety, there’s no simpler or better solution than traffic cones. Having the right cones in place keeps roads, carparks, and your work site safe.

Call us biased, but we love road cones! Not only are they a must-have for safety, they’re easy to stack and move around, as well as being budget-friendly.

There are around 140 million of them in use around the world, doing an important job, and keeping us safe from day to day.

If you’re looking to order traffic cones, you can buy in confidence from Highways.co.uk. We ship nationwide and will quote for international deliveries.

Got any questions? Our friendly sales team are on hand to help you find the cone that best suits your needs.