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Common Road Signs: How Much Do UK Drivers Know?

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:

The Research

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
  • Stop
  • No overtaking
  • Roundabout
  • 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
  • Congestion

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

Final Thoughts…

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.

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The first thing you need to know is that the tougher penalties apply only to drivers who go a bit crazy behind the wheel and exceed the speed limit by a big margin. So if you stray just a few miles an hour over the limit, nothing has changed. You’ll probably still be offered a speed awareness course if you’re caught under the threshold and you haven’t already taken part in one within the last three years.

If you’re not offered a course you’ll be handed a fixed penalty which means your wallet will be £100 lighter and you’ll get three points on your license. The camera partnerships that set up fixed and mobile cameras around the UK are funded by these speed awareness courses so they’re very keen for you to choose that option; elect to pay a fine and take the points instead, and your cash goes straight to the Treasury, thus reducing the partnership’s income by a typical £35. No wonder they want you to do the course instead.

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Well, here at HPI Check, we’ve done some research into the UK cities with the most expensive bays and found an easy way for you to put the brakes on pricey city parking! Here’s how we did it and what we found out…

Methodology

First off, we needed to pick the locations we wanted to focus the research on, we opted for: London, Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle and Sunderland.
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The poll comes ahead of Father’s Day (Sunday 18 June).

James Dower, senior Black Book editor at hpi, said: “With Father’s Day this month we thought it would be fun to look at some of the makes and models of cars that can give the ultimate feeling of school gate cred. Our team of editors considered everything from top of the range supercars to one-off fantasy cars as seen in the movies such as the classic DeLorean from Back to the Future or Vin Diesel’s 1968 Dodge Charger featured in the latest Fast and the Furious movie. They eventually decided to keep it real by settling for more realistic vehicles that would really appeal to dads.

The Top 5 list of cars offering the greatest school gate cred is as follows:

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