Revealed: Over half of UK motorists are driven round the bend by confusing road signs

Confusing road signs are driving British motorists round the bend

Are you being driven round the bend by confusing road signs?

If the answer is “yes”, then you’re not alone. We’ve done a spot of research and it’s revealed that over half (53%) of British drivers have had, or know someone who has had, a near miss because they misinterpreted a confusing road sign.

Road signs confusing the nation

The same research suggests that there are two reasons behind this shocking statistic:

1.     British drivers don’t understand road signs

Two thirds (62%) of those surveyed admit to being confused by road signs whilst driving, with hazard signs and even the national speed limit sign being the worst offenders for causing chaos on the roads.

What’s more 60% of drivers feel that they likely wouldn’t pass their theory test due to their lack of basic road signs.

With that in mind we’ve pulled together a little quiz to test how well you know your road signs. And remember, to pass your theory test you need to score 86%.

2.     Current road signs don’t reflect our modern roads

As technology has evolved and our society has changed, so too have our road hazards – but arguably our road signs haven’t kept up.

Our research revealed that a staggering 61% of Brits feel that road signs are not fit for purpose in today’s society.

With an average of 452 casualties a day from road accidents in the UK, there’s a clear need to address any factor that negatively impacts upon the road safety of British motorists – including confusing road signs.

That’s why we’ve partnered with the UK’s largest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, both to tackle the lack of understanding of current road signs among drivers, and to start a discussion around how these could be updated to ensure they fit the roads of the future.

Avoid being driven to distraction

As part of our campaign for safer road signs, IAM RoadSmart is advising UK motorists to educate themselves in order to help reduce accidents.

They’re asking drivers to catch up on their Highway Code to keep up to date on the latest developments, like SMART motorways and new road signs.

Road signs of the future

Our research also asked drivers for their views on the road signs they’d like to see around existing and new driving hazards, to help them drive more safely.

We want to make a real change when it comes to improving road safety. Not just because we know it’s an issue that’s important to our customers, but because, as a leading car insurer, we believe it’s our responsibility to improve the safety of UK roads.

If you want to find out more about our campaign for safer road signs, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we’ll be sharing insights from our research and practical driving safety advice over the next couple of weeks using the hashtag #Safety1st.

Heading abroad this summer? Well it might be worth checking out 10 of the most bizarre road signs from around the world. You never know, you might come across one on your travels.


  1. Andrew Piesse says:

    There are so many signs that they can be a distraction and/or end up being missed in the jumble of signs. In some situations where a sign has been placed, I feel that if a driver needs the sign to be made aware then perhaps they shouldn’t be driving. I think there should be some research done on the placement of multiple signs to see if by poor positioning the driver misses them or they cause a danger by taking the drivers attention away from the road. I suggest a high level of signage may be counterproductive. As an example, I point to research into why in the early days of crash resistant vehicles injuries were as bad in them as the more usual, supposedly less safe cars. It was worked out that psychological people who drove them believing they were safer drove more aggressively often much closer to the vehicle in front.

  2. David says:

    A good driver reads the road-not roadsigns.Take responsibility and stop making excuses!

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