Mental Block Ahead: Motorists Stumped by Road Signs & Rules of the Road

Friday, December 9, 2016





Who Really Knows Best when it comes to driving…the back-seat driver, the spouse or off-spring?






  • Over half (52%) of respondents can’t identify the sign for ‘No Motor Vehicles’

  • Almost half (48%) don’t know how to check the level of hydraulic brake fluid

  • Three Quarters (75%) don’t know where they’d see amber studs on the motorway

  • Twice as many men have been penalised for speeding, compared to women

  • Almost half (44%) of all those speeding admitting to knowing they were breaking the law and just didn’t spot the speed camera

  • Parents think they know better than their off-spring

  • Results show drivers who have held a licence for less than three years’ actually know the most


Everyone’s experienced a back-seat driver and there’s been many an in-car argument over who’s right when it comes to which lane the driver should be in, whether they’re going too fast or too slow, how close they are to the vehicle in front and whether they obeyed ‘that’ road sign or not. 


To put an end to the arguments, the UK’s No. 1 brand of learner driver revision software and Apps, tasked drivers with a series of mock multiple choice Theory Test questions. They asked new drivers with up to three years’ experience, seasoned drivers with three to 13 years’ on the road and drivers with over 14 years’ experience under their tyres.


Over half (52%) of all respondents mistakenly identified a sign for ‘No Motor Vehicles’ to mean the exact opposite, selecting ‘Cars & Motorcycles Only’. Drivers with three to 13 years’ experience performed the worse on this question with only three out of 10 (28%) getting the answer right. 


It seems similarity between signs causes confusion. Almost half (48%) of new drivers and four out of ten (43%) seasoned drivers mistook the sign for a ‘Concealed Level Crossing’ to mean ‘End of Motorway’ or ‘End of Dual Carriageway’ instead.  Experienced drivers performed the best with six out of ten (64%) getting the answer right.


Seven out of ten (70%) drivers across all levels of experience failed to recognise the sign for ‘End of Restricted Parking Area’, with 40% of drivers with three to 13 years’ and over 14 years’ experience mistaking it to mean ‘End of Restricted Speed Area’ instead. Two out of ten (20%) drivers across all levels of experience failed to recognise the sign for ‘No Overtaking’ . Four out of ten drivers (36%) with less than three years’ and more than 14 years’ on the road didn’t know that a warning sign would be found in a red triangle, mistaking it to be an ‘order’ instead. The question that stumped drivers the most was ‘Where can you find reflective amber studs on a motorway?’ Three quarters (75%) of respondents didn’t know it’s ‘On the Right Hand Edge of the Carriageway’. 


All drivers should know to leave a safe gap between them and the vehicle in front, yet one in ten (10%) seasoned and experienced drivers are probably driving too close as they thought that 34 metres / 112 feet was the stopping distance for a car travelling at 50mph, when in fact it’s 54% further at 53 metres / 175 feet. The safest drivers are those who’ve been driving for over 14 years’ as six in 10 (64%) thought that 63metres / 207 feet was the correct stopping distance.


Results showed that newer drivers are more cautious on the roads with just 2% admitting to receiving penalty points or going to a speed awareness course, in comparison to 30% of those with 3 – 13 years’ and over 14 years’ experience who had been caught speeding.  Twice as many men had been caught speeding compared to women (30% versus 16%) and of all those that had been found speeding, almost half (44%) admitted they knew they were breaking the law but just didn’t spot the speed camera! While 37% said they didn’t know what the speed limit for the road was. 


In questions around car maintenance and safety found that almost half (48%) of those with 6-13 years’ experience, and one third (33%) of those with over 13 years’ experience, said they wouldn’t know how to check if they had a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid – compared to eight out of ten (84%) new drivers who said they would know. Almost half (47%) of drivers with over 14 years’ experience didn’t know the correct tread depth for road-worthy tyres is 1.6mm, compared to 21% of new drivers.


The results showed that drivers with less than three years’ experience got the highest proportion of correct answers (54%) on the multiple choice questions, followed by drivers with three to 13 years’ (30%). Drivers with over 14 years’ on the road collectively scored the worse answering just 16% of the multiple choice questions correctly.


Emma Bagnall, brand manager for, said: “Unfortunately too many of us are on auto-pilot when we drive and don’t take notice of the signs that we pass on a daily basis and we seem to ‘forget’ the rules of the road that we learnt to keep us safe.


“While the results show that new drivers (and men) know best, perceptions are very different as eight out of ten (77%) drivers believed that Experienced Drivers would know the most. Over half (58%) of new drivers believed their parents, who had more experience on the road, would be more knowledgeable than them and parents also thought they’d know more than their offspring with seven out of ten (72%) believing they would know the most.


“At we provide learner drivers with high quality revision tools in a range of digital formats. Our new Theory Test 4-in-1 Bundle App contains everything needed to pass the test and equip them with the info they need for safe driving for life. It’s also a great App for experienced drivers to brush up on their driving knowledge too!”


The new Theory Test 4-in-1 Bundle App by Driving Test Success is available to download now for IOS and Android for just £4.99, saving £2.97 if the apps were bought individually. Simply search ‘Theory Test Bundle’ in the relevant store or visit

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