90% of drivers confused by road signs

Britain’s most baffling signs revealed

  • This year marks 60 years since the introduction of standardized road signs in the UK – many of the signs remain unchanged to this day
  • But new research reveals confusion at the wheel is rife, identifies the signs we don’t understand and asks motorists what would make our roads safer, suggesting an overhaul could be in need for Britain’s ‘road sign language
  • Department for Transport considering a review of current road signs aiming to remove the most confusing – the first review of its kind in 60 years

 90% of British drivers say they can find road signs confusing, with almost a third unable to recognise the national speed limit sign and more than 40% confused by the ‘no vehicles’ sign. Almost half of drivers – alongside the Department for Transport – now believe that there are too many signs on the road, with one in twenty saying they’ve made driving mistakes due to confusing road signs.

Road signs are an essential aspect of daily motoring, yet one that hardly merits a second thought as technology becomes more commonplace in cars. In fact, 8% of drivers are now ignoring road signs and relying solely on their sat-nav instead!

A new taskforce is being setup by the Government to review the current state of road signs and decide on a potential roadside cull.

The report, by car finance specialist Zuto, identifies what new road signs motorists most want to see in the future with digital warnings of approaching emergency services and ‘increase your space’ warnings topping the list; holograms on the road and signs that allow drives to communicate with each other are also high on the wish list.

Meanwhile, almost one in ten also say they find the ‘men’ at work road signs sexist and due for a makeover.

But Britain’s most confusing sign is one only half of all motorists recognize – the admittedly bizarre sign for ‘no vehicles carrying explosives’ while almost a quarter don’t understand the archaic ‘no horse drawn vehicles’ sign. Much more worryingly, over four million UK drivers don’t understand the level crossing without barrier sign.

Whilst the findings from Zuto, the car finance specialist, suggest that drivers are confused by numerous road signs – drivers have a clear impression of what they would like UK road signs to look like in the future;

  1. Signs which tell drivers to increase space – 42%
  2. Signs which warn of emergency vehicles approaching – 41%
  3. Signs which tell drivers using mobile phones to stop – 41%
  4. Signs which all read the same in critical situations i.e. emergency – 36%
  5. Signs which allow drivers to communicate i.e. Stop Tailgating! – 27%
  6. Signs which graphically depict accidents to deter reckless driving – 18%
  7. Hologram signs on the road, rather than on the sides, to avoid distraction – 13%