Signs of the times

A new study has revealed that, while three quarters of British drivers feel they know the basics of the Highway Code, almost half can’t correctly identify a ‘no stopping’ road sign. According to the poll, if Britons were to be stopped and pulled up on ignoring recent road signs, the majority confessed they’d pretend they never saw the sign.

‘No stopping’, ‘no overtaking’ and ‘end of minimum speed’ might seem to be obvious road signs that drivers will be aware of, but these are amongst the most commonly mistaken road signs, it’s been revealed.

The team at money-saving website undertook the study as part of ongoing research into Britons driving experiences. They questioned 2,314 drivers aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they held a full driving license and had been driving for at least 12 months.

Initially all respondents were asked ‘Are you familiar with the basics of the Highway Code?’ to which 77% stated that ‘yes’ they were, with the remaining 23% admitting they were ‘not completely’ familiar with it.

When asked if they felt they’d be able to clearly identify the meaning of most road signs, almost two thirds (63%) felt confident that ‘yes’ they would. All respondents were then provided with a number of different road signs and asked to state what they believed the signs were telling drivers. According to the results, the most commonly mistaken ones were: No stopping (clearway), 47% (incorrectly identified the road sign); contra-flow bus lane, 44%; no overtaking, 31%; no waiting, 30%; end of minimum speed, 24%.

According to the poll, the top reasons so many British drivers are unsure of what these signs mean is because they either ‘don’t encounter them very often’ (35%) or ‘have got them confused with other similar signs’ (33%).

George Charles, spokesperson for, said, ‘It’s worrying to hear that so many British drivers can’t correctly identify some of the most basic road signs. Especially when you consider that road signs are one of the areas learner drivers need to be up-to-speed in order to pass their theory test. It may be that it’s experienced drivers more so than new drivers, but either way it seems that a lot of drivers need to get the Highway Code out and refresh their memory.’