If you cast your mind back to when you were first learning to drive, you might have panicky memories of trying to frantically learn all the road signs to make sure you didn’t mess up on your test.
If this sounds familiar, it’s also probably fair to say that as soon as you passed your test you perhaps relaxed your dedication to knowing every single road sign off by heart. This then got the team at HPI wondering just how much we Brits do know when it comes to the road signs we encounter every day when behind the wheel.
So, we set to work to find out and here’s how we did it:
We tasked a number of UK drivers that had different ages and driving histories with several tests. The first of which was to see how well they could draw the following road signs:
- No entry
- No overtaking
- End of a motorway
- Give way
- National Speed Limit
- One-way system
The next test saw us give our drivers a selection of images of road signs that they had to identify. These were the signs we included:
- Sharp bend
- Double bend
- No waiting / Controlled Zone
- Uneven road
The final tests we carried out saw us asking the drivers a few bonus questions around what UK speed limits can apply for certain traffic signs without numbers, or driving when on certain types of roadways.
A Variety of Results
Once we’d gathered all our data, we then studied our findings and learned that we’re quite hit and miss when it comes to knowing our signs and speed limits.
Here’s some key findings from our drawing test:
- 50% of people couldn’t draw a ‘Stop’ sign
- 55% of people couldn’t draw the ‘No overtaking’ sign
- 90% of people couldn’t draw the sign for a ‘Roundabout’, and were equally as confused by the ‘Mini-roundabout’ sign
- Only 15% of people could draw the ‘End of motorway’ sign
- 70% of people didn’t know how to draw the ‘Give way’ sign
- Almost half of people (45%) didn’t know how to draw the ‘One-way system’ sign
In the second part of our test (the image identifying test) we found out the following:
- 55% of people couldn’t identify what the ‘Sharp bend’ sign was, with the majority of people mistaking it for ‘Turn right’
- Only 20% of people could identify the ‘Mini-roundabout’ sign
- 95% of people didn’t know what the ‘No waiting’ sign was
- None of our drivers could tell us what the ‘Uneven road’ sign meant
- 35% of people couldn’t identify the sign for ‘Congestion’
The main findings from the speed limit questions we asked were as follows:
- 12% of those we asked thought the speed limit on a dual carriageway was 80mph – as much as 10mph over the actual limit
- 38% of the drivers aged between 25-34 thought the speed limit for a van on a motorway was 50mph
- 56% of all our drivers didn’t know the speed limit for a van on a motorway
- 6% of those we asked didn’t know what the speed limit is when you’re towing on a single carriageway
- 60% of drivers got the dual carriageway speed limit wrong
- 47% of these people thought the speed limit on a dual carriageway was 60mph
While it’s interesting to see how much (and how little) we know, these tests were all just a bit of fun; the serious point remains that as a UK road user, you should be able to identify your traffic signs to ensure you and your passengers are safe.
So, if these stats have set alarm bells ringing, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get out the old Highway Code and brush up on your signs and symbols.