British drivers confused by road signs

Friday, October 23, 2015


British drivers find road signs confusing with some not even able to recognise the national speed limit.

A survey found that 90% of British drivers said they found road signs confusing, with a third unable to recognise the national speed limit and more than 40% confused by the ‘no vehicles’ sign.

Sixty years after the introduction of standardised road signs in the UK, the figures, from car finance broker Zuto, found that almost half of drivers believed that there were too many signs on the road, with one-in-twenty admitting they’ve made driving mistakes due to confusing road signs. 

Almost one in ten said they found the ‘men’ at work road sign sexist and due for a makeover, while over four million UK drivers don’t understand the ‘level crossing without a barrier’ sign, a further 31% failed to recognise the National Speed Limit sign.

 James Wilkinson, CEO of Zuto, commented: “As the research has shown, I’m sure every motorist can relate to being baffled by road signs at some point and, after 60 years serving the UK roads, perhaps it’s time for some signs to enter retirement.”

The research also revealed that one in four don’t recognise the ‘Cars & Motorbikes Prohibited’ sign, with 13% incorrectly believing the exact opposite of the sign’s meaning – that cars and motorbikes are allowed.

But Britain’s most confusing sign is one only half of all motorists recognise, the admittedly bizarre sign for ‘no vehicles carrying explosives’, while almost a quarter don’t understand the archaic ‘no horse drawn vehicles’ sign.


Confusing road signs:


  • Signs which tell drivers to increase space – 42%

  • Signs which warn of emergency vehicles approaching – 41%

  • Signs which tell drivers using mobile phones to stop – 41%

  • Signs which all read the same in critical situations i.e. emergency – 36%

  • Signs which allow drivers to communicate i.e. Stop Tailgating! – 27%

  • Signs which graphically depict accidents to deter reckless driving – 18%

  • Hologram signs on the road, rather than on the sides, to avoid distraction – 13% 

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