There are stretches of highways around Victoria with miles of traffic cones. Most of us seldom give them a second thought. If you're like me and commute multiple hours a week to work, you have time to ponder things others would never think of.

Take, for example, ordinary traffic cones.

In my observations, it always seems that motorists strike an average of 25% of traffic cones. The slightest distraction can cause a motorist to veer off.  How illegal is striking a traffic cone?

In Texas, no specific law says hitting traffic cones is against the law. Doing so could still put you in legal jeopardy, depending upon the circumstances.

For example, Section 472.022 of the Texas Traffic Code prohibits damaging or removing traffic control devices, including traffic cones on public highways is illegal.

Section 472.021 prohibits interference with highway signs or signals. Hitting a traffic cone might be considered interference.

Aside from the legal jeopardy, striking a traffic cone can cause damage to your vehicle. In most cases, it is not extreme since traffic cones are made of rubber to minimize the risk of causing significant damage. Striking one at high speeds can cause damage, especially if it is dragged for any distance under your car.

In college, I always wanted to get one of those flashing yellow lights off of one of those traffic barricades. Every dorm or frathouse seems to have at least one stolen traffic sign or traffic cone on the premises.

If caught, this can be bad news.  TxDot frequently issues memos about the dangers of stealing or tampering with traffic cones or signs.

Stealing, damaging, or destroying state property or traffic control devices like traffic cones can result in a misdemeanor charge. In some cases, it can result in a felony. If police can prove that the result of a stolen traffic cone led to an accident that caused injury or death, the charges can be a felony.

There have been internet rumors posted about TxDot using tracking devices like air tags on traffic cones in areas where frequent thefts are reported. A thorough search could find no mention of this tactic on any TxDot website.

It is hard to see the benefit of taking the risk of stealing one.

Another thing many people do not realize is that traffic cones are color coded.

Texas traffic cones come in different colors. The colors are coded for different situations. OSHA has a whole hierarchy of colors when it comes to traffic cones. Here is what they mean:

Photo: Traffic Safety Supply
Photo: Traffic Safety Supply

Red Traffic Cones: indicate Danger. Red traffic cones mean there is an imminent danger with the chance of serious injury or death.  I don't think I've ever seen a red traffic cone on any Texas highway.

Orange Traffic Cones: Are a warning. The color Orange means there is a potential danger of serious injury or death.

Yellow Traffic Cones: Osha says yellow portends potential danger, but the risk is lessened to general injury.

Green Traffic Cones: Green cones designate first aid stations with emergency information or safety equipment. Green is also used at track and field events.

Navy Blue Traffic Cones: These cones denote essential information that is of a non-hazardous nature. They can designate handicapped-only access.

White Traffic Cones: These designate areas that are considered safe.

When you have time to ponder the complexities of traffic cones, perhaps it is a sign that you're driving too much. Then again, who knew there was so much to ponder?

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