A staggering 62 per cent did not know that a red circle with a white horizontal bar in the middle means “No Entry”.
And 54 per cent could not get to grips with a “Turn Left” sign.
As for bus lanes and cycle lanes, they are mysteries to most drivers.
A blue sign indicating a bus and cycle lane confused 79 per cent of motorists and a similar sign for buses, bikes and taxis was incomprehensible to 72 per cent
A blue circle surrounding a white “30” meant nothing to 70 per cent who should have realised that this indicated the minimum speed.
And 57 per cent failed to understand that a blue square with a white bicycle revealed a recommended route for cyclists.
The motoring public’s lack of road sense was exposed by a survey of 1,220 drivers across the country for personalised DVLA registration number plate provider Click4reg.co.uk.
It could help explain why Britain still has about 171,000 accidents on the roads every year.
Click4reg partner Ben Leonard said: “These results are particularly shocking considering the status of the respondents: active UK drivers.
“Whether a recently passed teenager or a driver of 50 years, everyone should be up to date with basic traffic signs – especially these signs, which make up some of those most commonly seen on our roads. We think UK drivers would benefit greatly from refreshing their knowledge of the Highway Code every five to 10 years.
“Not only that, introducing a knowledge of the rules of the road from an early age would help many future drivers to ensure their safety and that of others.”
But some signs did strike a chord with motorists, with a flapping windsock correctly identified by 93 per cent of those surveyed as a warning for side winds, while “Keep Left” was understood by 75 per cent of them.
After that it all got a bit hazy for Britain’s motorists.
Only 59 per cent understood the “No Waiting” sign, 58 per cent “No Stopping”, 57 per cent the sign for a level crossing without a barrier and 54 per cent a cycle route.
But that still leaves at least 40 per cent who do not know what these signs mean.
An AA spokesman said signs help boost safety but warned that there are so many nowadays that they can be confusing.
He cited the case of psychologist Bernardine King who earlier this year successfully appealed against a fixed-penalty notice for driving into a lane reserved for buses, bicycles and taxis.
She argued that there were too many road signs for the brain to successfully absorb the information.
The traffic penalty adjudicator said the signs in Chelmsford, Essex, were “cluttered” together and meant “drivers could be confused”.
The AA spokesman added: “Signs are not there for decoration.
“They are there to help drivers by alerting them to hazards or the need to moderate their behaviour to avoid the risk of accidents. But there are now so many signs by the road that they can confuse drivers, especially if they are trying to concentrate on the speed limit with one eye on the speedo and the other on the road ahead.
“If a psychologist is bamboozled by signs, what hope is there for the rest of us?”
Published at Thu, 18 Apr 2019 14:36:00 +0000