What is a flagger?


What is a flagger?

A flagger is word that applies to a traffic control person who specifically controls traffic. In other words it is a job or a trade. Mosts states require the “flagger” to obtain a certification certificate prior to performing this task. A flagger will either hold a paddle or  a staff (about 8 feet in length total) that has a “stop” sign and “slow” sign on the other side. Note the “slow” side of the sign is in orange and black. Flaggers work primarily in zones where traffic is moving. Such as road repairs, shoulder or guardrail repair or even overhead work. Flaggers are used to keep workers in a repair zone safe by diverting, slowing down or completely stopping the motorists.

Flaggers paddle

When you enter a smaller work zone (under 5 miles) you will usually be greeted by this type of sign (see below). It can also be referred to as a flag since many of them are portable and roll up. This type of warning sign is orange so it represents “danger”. Or in this case “danger ahead” or “roadwork next 500 feet” as most state/province laws require the motorist is notified of temporary road construction from a minimum distance of 500′. Also note the color of the signs; they are orange and black.



At times flaggers are required to use safety cones. They can be used to force a unnatural looking lane change, slow the drivers rate of speed. Create safe pedestrian crossings and much more. You should however make a note that safety cones are made in various sizes. In order to meet different state/provincial specifications one would need to make certain they knew of these specifications prior to purchasing them. Below is a typical (28″) traffic safety cone. This is one of the more popular sizes and designs used. Note it is orange and black.

traffic cone

To review, we know that a flagger:

  • A flagger is a person who controls traffic with a STOP/SLOW sign or paddle in temporary job zones where it is necessary to either slow or stop motorists.

  • A flagger is usually used on smaller local jobs that don’t require long distance travel. These zones are typically marked by a “roadwork in 500 feet” sign.

  • Flaggers will also use traffic cones in order to slow traffic down.

  • Flaggers operating vehicles will typically use “Follow Me” signs on their vehicles. The “Follow Me” sign suggests you will be led or escorted at a slower rate of speed through the work zone.

  • The colors used for the main signs in these zones are orange and black.

flagger truck

At this point we start to differentiate between a flagger, a flag truck, a flag, pilot car, escort or whatever you want to call it.


One type of job is stationary. Meaning in one central location. While another type of job is continuously moving. The quickest way to tell what type of job you are near is by color. Orange means it’s a job site. While yellow means it’s a moving job. Meaning the job is an object being transported.

















Marked as spam
Posted by (Questions: 31, Answers: 13)
Asked on June 26, 2017 8:09 PM