This is what the dangerous goods warning signs on the truck mean

Again stuck in traffic. Time to clear up some burning questions from the back seat. Today: "What are those orange signs with the numbers on the truck?"

If you are adept at cat flaps , TIR signs and truck brakes , you can go one step further and prepare yourself for the question: "Mom, Dad, what are those orange ones Signs there on the truck?". You guessed it, the answer is neither easy nor short. Just so much in advance: without the warning signs it can be quite dangerous. auto motor und sport explains what the signs are all about.

Dangerous goods warning signs

Said orange signs rarely come alone. Checks or diamonds in many colors usually accompany the striking rectangles. A signal for: This truck has dangerous goods loaded . Based on the different numbers and symbols, the code cracker on the front seat can not only see exactly what kind of load it is, but also how much of it there is at least in the truck. In the eternal game of the questioning back seat, a joker with an ace up his sleeve. By the way: The drivers of dangerous goods transport need special additional training, popularly known as the ADR certificate.

Confusion of numbers

Looking at the signs, you can see different numbers. The dangerous goods warning signs have one to three digits in the top line and four at the bottom. The number at the top of the shield and diamond is what is known as the hazard number, formerly known as the Kemler number. It divides the basic hazard of the charged substance into nine classes in terms of the physical state, its flammability, a toxic or contagious effect, radiation, corrosive effects or general effects on the environment or health. If there is an X in front of the number, it warns of a violent reaction with water. Vital for rescuers and helpers when a dangerous goods transport has to be unloaded. A combination of several Kemler numbers reveals a substance with several properties. Example: 268 would be a toxic, corrosive gas. If a number occurs twice, this warns of the very strong effect. If there is no Kemler number on the sign, the substance does not pose an immediate danger. Nasty: If there are no numbers on the sign, several hazardous substances are loaded, which can only be proven by the transport documents.

What exactly is in it?

Now the 268 as a description of the danger applies to several gases. The four-digit UN number in the lower field tells you exactly what is loaded in the truck. The most common numbers are 1202 and 1203. Both are extremely important substances for cars with combustion engines. 1202 stands for diesel, gas oil or light heating oil. 1203 is gasoline. Anyone who sees the 1223 is probably near an airport: kerosene is loaded here. The heating oil and kerosene are supplemented with the Kemler number 30. The 3 stands for flammable liquids or self-heating substances, the 0 indicates that the substance is relatively harmless. The 33 for petrol is completely different: the second 3 is a warning signal that the substance is highly flammable or easily vaporized. The three charges are supplemented by the danger label, which describes the reaction of the substance to and with the environment. Fuels are thus differentiated according to their flash point. By the way: There are currently 3,473 UN numbers.


Urban myth: Allegedly, George Kemler, as part of a UN-ECE group, worked out the hazard classes during one night and accompanied by a bottle of red wine, after the French working group - including Kemler - had rejected the US system. The signs and their numbers are vital to rescue workers and vital to the environment into which the materials may end up.


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