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Traffic Cones

We will help you figure out what size and color traffic cones are right for your project or jobsite.

What Makes a Cone Legal for Road Use?

The all-purpose cone*
  • Approved as channelizing device -- "tool used to temporarily guide traffic on public roads" -- by the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)

  • Safe for cars because it's molded from shock-absorbing plastic unlike stiff all-purpose cones

  • Meets requirements for height*, color (chromaticity coordinates) and luster (luminance factor) set by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
*Height requirements vary by state. 36-inches for highways in FL and DE

When Are Traffic Cones Used?


Work Zone

"An area of a highway with construction, maintenance or utility work activities."*

Incident Zone

"Imposed by authorized officials in response to a traffic incident"* (incl nat disaster)

Planned Event

"Closing a street for a festival" or "Extended throughout a municipality"* (ex. marathon)

Special Lanes

Divide vehicular traffic lanes or channelize pedestrians and cyclists

*All quoted statements from MUTCD, 2009 ed.


Drivers Ed
Animal Training
Property Hazard*
Indoor Caution

*Modified image. Original provided by Andrew on Flickr

Traffic Cone Sizes

Shop 6-inch cone Shop 12-inch cone Shop 18-inch cone Shop 28-inch cone Shop 36-inch cone


Legal Use

Everyday Use


Not for use on public roads

Driver ed courses, mark indoor hazards


Not for use on public roads

Athletics/soccer, animal or dog training


Roadways < 45

Athletics, landscaping, parking


w/ 10lb base – Roadways > 45mph

Hazard markers/blockades and signage


Roadways > 45mph (required size in certain states incl DE & FLA)

Industrial/utility facilities and entryways


Orange cones are used to mark Temporary Traffic Control Zones.
Lime green cones signal increased pedestrian activity and mark entryways.
Blue cones used to mark accessible parking and signal overhead wires.
White cones for valet parking, equestrian sport, and sponsor display.
Yellow cones are used to caution the public in indoor areas (wet floors).
Pink cones for children's areas, celebrations, and cancer awareness.
Black cones are used in funerals and with orange cones for contrast.
Red cones guide indoor machine traffic and block workplace hazards.
Green cones are often used as markers on track and field courses.
Purple cones may be used in sports, parties, and other events.

Traffic Cone Manufacturing

Flow Molded

  • Solid piece with no seams
  • Body has more give
  • More economical

Injection Molded

  • Two-piece, interlocking-base
  • Body is more firm
  • 50% recycled materials

Other Types of Traffic Cones

Collapsible "Light-Up" Cones

Pop up cones are a safer, more energy efficient alternative to road flares. They’re made of nylon, foldable, and use a switch-powered LED bulb instead of an open flame. First responders use these instead of traditional traffic cones to indicate emergencies. Some drivers also carry them in case of incident as they conveniently collapse and include a handy carrying bag.

Tubular "Delineator" Cones

Hollow traffic cone tubes including grabber cones, looper tubes, and grabber tubes are recognized by the MUTCD for delineation purposes – usually roadside or off-road. They’re designed to string tape, chain, cone bars and more. Frequently used for crowd control.

Traffic Cone Accessories

Customization for Custom Traffic Cones



Reflective Collars*




Permanent Stencils


Cone Base




Cone Bars


Clip-On Signs



Why are Traffic Cones Orange?

On the color wheel, Safety Orange (aka "Blaze" Orange) is opposite azure – the color of the sky. That makes this hue the most dissimilar to an outdoor backdrop and the easiest to spot. The color is Orange-152 on the Pantone Matching System (PMS) with 14 parts yellow + 3 parts warm red + ¼ part black. Blaze Orange is recognized as a high-visibility color by the MUTCD, ANSI, and OSHA, and used for hunting gear and to mark safety tips on guns.

Why are Some Traffic Cones Lime Green?

Florescent yellow-green traffic cones (Pantone, Yellow-Green 382) may be used in place of traditional orange cones, but the color generally warns of increased pedestrian activity. Whereas orange cones can be expected on highway construction areas, lime green cones are usually found near school zones, bus stops, playgrounds, etc. Safety cones of this color are also common where large vehicles are in close proximity to workers, such as industrial sites and facility entryways.

Can you get Arrested for Taking a Traffic Cone?

Yes, but the charges depend on the circumstance. Taking anything from a public agency can have serious consequences, especially if a traffic accident results.

What are Traffic Cones Made of?

Like all traffic safety products, cones are made from pliable plastics -- usually Polyvinyl Chloride. Because cones are manufactured through pressure-molding, the plastic is extremely dense and sturdy yet soft enough to avoid damaging a vehicle.

Is it Illegal to use Traffic Cones without a Permit?

Anyone can buy a traffic cone, even an MUTCD-compliant traffic cone. In fact, traffic cones have a host of everyday functions. But placing a traffic cone on public property -- such as on-street parking spots -- is usually illegal and can result in a fine.

How many Traffic Cones do I need...
  • on a Pumper? A fire engine equipped with pumps and hoses must carry five 28" traffic cones with double reflective stripes as well as five hazard flares or carry five 28" pop-up illuminated cones.
  • in an Emergency? EMTs and other first responders are expected to carry five (5) light-up cones. Some non-professionals also carry three to five cones in their vehicle in case of roadside emergency.
  • in a Work Zone? Approximately one cone every 20 feet, spanning the entire exposed section of the boundary.

Who Invented Traffic Cones?

In 1940, Charles P Scanlon, a Los Angeles streets worker, invented what would become the first patented safety cone. The original design was made of rubber and fashioned by sewing together used tire skins.

Traffic Cones come in many colors Orange, Lime, Yellow, Blue, White, Green, Black, Pink, Purple, Light Blue, and Red. Call Traffic Safety Store today to discuss your Traffic Cone options and choices.