More than 2/3 of British motorists admit to not knowing what road signs mean

A new poll suggests that more than two-thirds of British motorists do not know what some road signs mean. The study also indicated that 86 per cent of Britons will not try to learn anything about foreign road signs before they rent a car abroad. The UK-based website polled 2,109 British adults, all of whom were aged 25 or over and revealed to researchers that they had been driving for at least five years. Respondents also revealed that they had rented a car abroad in the last two years. The survey was conducted as part of research into the attitudes of Britons while driving and how seriously they take road rules.

Initially, all participants were asked if they felt they were clued up on road rules, to which 71 per cent said they did. Following on from this, participants were asked if they thought they would be able to pass a hazard perception test if they were to take one now; 57 per cent stated they believed they would.

Following on from this, researchers provided common road signs and asked participants to identify them. Below are the top 5 signs that the most respondents got wrong in order:

  1. Risk of grounding – 81 per cent of participants got this wrong
  2. Double bend – 73 per cent
  3. Side winds – 59 per cent
  4. Soft Verges – 47 per cent
  5. No overtaking – 32 per cent

Participants were then asked if they knew what the national speed limit was; 61 per cent answered correctly with 70mph, the rest answered incorrectly, with 22 per cent thinking it was 60mph, 10 per cent answering with 80mph and the remaining 7 per cent just stating that they “weren’t sure”.

Following on from this, researchers wanted to find out more about how seriously Britons took road safety abroad. Participants were asked: “Do you learn about foreign road signs before you rent a car abroad?” 86 per cent stated they do not. Researchers asked all individuals taking part if they knew what the speed limit was in countries that they have driven in; 71 per cent stated they “guessed” what the speed limit was while driving by observing other cars. Finally respondents were asked: “Have you ever nearly driven on the wrong side of the road while abroad?” 13 per cent of those taking part in the study said they had.

Spokesperson for, George Charles commented: “It’s actually absurd how many people consider themselves clued up on road rules and yet they don’t know our own road signs…let alone those abroad! I think it’s absolutely not acceptable to be driving abroad when you aren’t aware of simple things such as the speed limit and at least some of the main road signs. It should be compulsory to learn these, the road can be a dangerous place.”

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