These are Some of the Most Commonly Misunderstood Road Signs – How Many can YOU Name?

These are Some of the Most Commonly Misunderstood Road Signs – How Many can YOU Name?

Posted 17 April, 2019 at 17:46

Author Mark Bradshaw on behalf of (IFM) Independent Forecourt Magazine


  • 62% of active drivers can’t identify a ‘no entry’ sign - one of the most common signs in the UK.
  • Only 46% of respondents could correctly name a ‘turn left’ sign.
  • The least well known traffic sign is ‘with-flow bus and cycle lane’, with 79% unable to name it.
  • The traffic sign drivers are most confident with is ‘side winds’, with 93% of respondents correctly identifying.

While the number of road accidents has much improved from 30 years ago, 2017 still saw around 171,000 traffic accidents in the UK.

Causes of road traffic accidents could be a result of anything from illegal phone use to reckless driving and more.

But private number plates provider Click4reg.co.uk wondered if a lack of knowledge of the Highway Code could be a contributing factor. More specifically, a misunderstanding of common traffic signs.

A survey of 1,220 active drivers across the UK was conducted, and each participant was asked to choose what they thought was the correct meaning of 12 common traffic signs*. The results were then collated to determine which signs are some of the least and most well known.

Which traffic signs do Brits know the least?

Click4reg can reveal that the most misunderstood traffic sign, with 79% (964) of respondents answering incorrectly, is ‘with-flow bus and cycle lane’.

The next least well known sign, with 72% (878) answering incorrectly, is ‘with-flow bus lane ahead which pedal cycles and taxis may also use’.

In descending order of incorrect guesses, the next traffic signs to make the bottom 6 are as follows:

  • ‘Minimum speed’ - 70% (854) answered incorrectly
  • ‘No entry for vehicular traffic’ - 62% (756) answered incorrectly
  • ‘Recommended route for pedal cycles’ - 57% (695) answered incorrectly
  • ‘Turn left’ - 54% (659) answered incorrectly

Flipping the results, the Highway Code sign drivers are most confident with is ‘side winds’, with 93% (1,135) answering correctly, and 7% answering incorrectly.

The second-best result comes from the ‘keep left’ traffic sign, with 75% (915) successfully able to identify it (25% could not).

In descending order of percentages answered correctly, the traffic signs which make the top 6 include:

  • ‘No waiting’ – 59% (720) answered correctly
  • ‘No stopping’ – 58% (708) answered correctly
  • ‘Level crossing without barrier’ – 57% (695) answered correctly
  • ‘Route to be used by pedal cycles only’ – 54% (659) answered correctly

*Traffic signs were selected following background research of common traffic signs within the Highway Code which were misunderstood or misinterpreted

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