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Road signs confuse the majority of drivers

Many could not identify 20 markings in a survey


Road signs which confuse drivers

Most drivers do not understand road signs and often rely on guesswork to try to decipher them, according to a survey.

Less than 10 per cent were able to correctly identify all 20 signs and road markings in the survey conducted by the Autoglass company.

Seven in 10 said they used ‘sign-tology’ – a combination of logic and common sense to get around their lack of knowledge.

As many as 20 per cent of drivers simply ignore signs they do not understand, with women being more likely than men to do this.

Signs giving orders

The survey found that signs giving orders posed driver the biggest problems.

The top five misunderstood signs, with up to three quarters of drivers getting their meaning wrong, were:

  • MINIMUM SPEED – the number 30 inside a blue circle
  • NO MOTOR VEHICLE – a picture of the back of a black car below the side of a black motorcycle, inside a red outlined circle
  • VEHICLES MAY PASS EITHER SIDE – two white arrows pointing down – one to the left, one to the right – inside a blue circle
  • HOLIDAY ROUTE – the letters HR inside a yellow rectangle
  • NO WAITING – A red-outlined circle with blue inside and with a red diagonal line through it.

Road markings

Road markings also presented difficulties for those polled, with many drivers unable to distinguish between the different markings.

Autoglass managing director Nigel Doggett said: ‘Signs and markings are there to help drivers stay safe on the roads, so it is important they are understood.

‘Our research has uncovered some serious gaps in driver knowledge, which is not surprising when you consider there are an estimated 3.5 million road signs, signals and markings on UK roads today.

‘Combine this with the fact that for many drivers, their copy of the Highway Code is languishing at the back of a drawer or at the bottom of a bookcase, and has not been looked at since they were swotting up for their driving test, the scale of the problem becomes clear.

‘Although a large number of drivers say they rely on ‘sign-tology’ to make up for their lack of accurate understanding, we are urging all drivers to refresh their memories by taking a look at the Highway Code and checking up on the meaning of any signs and markings they are unsure of.’

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