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Is Britain on the Road to Ruin?

By: | Published 14 February 2013, 08:19 | Views: 4,929 | tags:, road signs, survey, confusing, public, campaigns, cake, safety concerns, petition, 2013, research, motorists, london
has revealed that the vast majority of Brits don’t understand the road signs they come across on a daily basis.

Further to this, over three-quarters (76%) of us think that distraction caused by road signs can be dangerous; a concerning statistic given that nearly half of us (46%) have been distracted by road signs whilst driving.

Brits’ lack of understanding when it comes to road signs has resulted in nearly a third (30%) of us having had a crash, bump or near miss. Of these people, more than four in five (81%) had to fork out up to £600 on car repairs2.

With these statistics in mind, it may not come as a surprise to hear that the Department of Transport reports that we have around 9,000 redundant road signs which need to be revised3. Four out of five (82%) Brits agree with the Government’s plans, with over 40% of us believing that the public should vote for which signs are reviewed.   

Nearly a quarter (23%) of Brits feel that road signs aren’t useful, and more than half (52%) of us feel confident enough driving without the need for ‘roadside furniture’. Part of this could be because Brits confess to being confused by road signs, as found by a list created by and voted for by the public.

The top five signs we don’t understand selected ten signs that frequently perplex us, and asked 2,000 respondents to identify what each meant. The majority of people were not able to identify five of the ten signs, shown below:


Brits were shown the sign for ‘no vehicles except bikes being pushed’ and a staggering nine out of ten (93%) couldn’t identify it, whilst eight in ten (83%) were unclear as to what the common ‘Urban Clearway’ sign actually means. Other confusing road signs that were presented included ‘No waiting’ (67%), ‘No motor vehicles allowed’ (61%) and ‘Appropriate traffic lanes at junction ahead’ (51%). This shows that many common road signs are frequently mis-interpreted and therefore need to be addressed.  

Brits’ biggest bugbear is road signs used for maintenance, with two fifths of us (43%) feeling irritated that they are left out longer than they should be. Over a quarter of us (25%) are also infuriated by signs that have been put in the wrong place.

Other reasons for wanting to revise road signs in the UK is because they don’t make sense (36%), they are distracting (31%), and they clutter our roadsides (37%)

Recent Government changes spark debate’s research was commissioned in response to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s call for a crackdown on unnecessary road signs which are cluttering the countryside. The Department for Transport is currently revising its ‘Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions’, for implementation in 20144.

Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at says: “Our research suggests that many accidents are actually caused by redundant or perplexing road signs. It is clear that the Government needs to do a better job in educating people on what road signs mean in order to improve road safety. Any accidents caused because of distracting road signs will affect car insurance premiums, which will in turn cost the consumer more money.”

In order to voice the public’s opinion on road signs, is running an online petition where you can vote for which road signs should be revised via . Any road sign which receives more than 5,000 votes will be petitioned to the government.

For more information please contact the press office at Cake on 0207 307 3100 /

Referred Notes:

1 Research conducted by OnePoll in January 2013 for with a survey base of 2,000 respondents, unless otherwise stated, all statistics in this press release are taken from this survey.

2 According to the survey, 81% of people have spent £0-600 on car repairs following a crash or bump caused by confusing road signs

3 Information according to


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