The following traffic cone regulations are directly from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or MUTCD. We highly recommend you read these regulations thoroughly and print them out. We also recommend you check with the department of transportation (DOT) or highway department in your state as they may have additional rules and regulations regarding the use of traffic safety cones.
Section 6F.59 Cones
Cones shall be predominantly orange and shall be made of a material that can be struck without causing damage to the impacting vehicle. For daytime and low-speed roadways, cones shall be not less than 450 mm (18 in) in height. When cones are used on freeways and other high-speed highways or at night on all highways, or when more conspicuous guidance is needed, cones shall be a minimum of 700 mm (28 in) in height.
For nighttime use, cones shall be retroreflectorized or equipped with lighting devices for maximum visibility. Retroreflectorization of cones that are 700 to 900 mm (28 to 36 in) in height shall be provided by a 150 mm (6 in) wide white band located 75 to 100 mm (3 to 4 in) from the top of the cone and an additional 100 mm (4 in) wide white band located approximately 50 mm (2 in) below the 150 mm (6 in) band.
Retroreflectorization of cones that are more than 900 mm (36 in) in height shall be provided by horizontal, circumferential, alternating orange and white retroreflective stripes that are 100 to 150 mm (4 to 6 in) wide. Each cone shall have a minimum of two orange and two white stripes with the top stripe being orange. Any nonretroreflective spaces between the orange and white stripes shall not exceed 75 mm (3 in) in width.
Traffic cones may be used to channelize road users, divide opposing vehicular traffic lanes, divide lanes when two or more lanes are kept open in the same direction, and delineate short duration maintenance and utility work.
Steps should be taken to minimize the possibility of cones being blown over or displaced by wind or moving vehicular traffic. Cones should not be used for pedestrian channelization or as pedestrian barriers in TTC zones on or along sidewalks unless they are continuous between individual devices and detectable to users of long canes.
Cones may be doubled up to increase their weight.
Some cones are constructed with bases that can be filled with ballast. Others have specially weighted bases, or weight such as sandbag rings that can be dropped over the cones and onto the base to provide added stability.
Ballast should be kept to the minimum amount needed.