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FLEET QUIZ: How well do you know your road signs?

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

2022 saw over 5,483,000 commercial trucks, buses, vans and cars on the road, a record share of the total number of vehicles being actively driven. It is thought there are more professional drivers on the road than ever, suggesting that the average standard of driving is increasing. Despite this, over half of Britain’s drivers admit they struggle with the Highway Code, identifying a more widespread issue when it comes to knowing the road.

Many commercial drivers hold a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), requiring regular re-certification – but if it’s been a while since your last training course, it’s always worth brushing up on your knowledge.

So, how well do you know your road signs? Some of the more unique signage might not appear in the Highway Code, but you might have seen them in a training course. If you’re a commercial taxi driver and any of this signage appears in your local area, they could even feature in your locality training. Here, the road surfacing experts at Instarmac take a look at some of the most commonly misunderstood road signs in the UK…

It’s one of the more common road signs, but a surprising number of people are unaware of what this sign means. This sign tells drivers that the road is a ‘clearway’ – which means no stopping under any circumstances.

That means no picking up or dropping off passengers, which has caught plenty of drivers out in the UK since these signs are commonly found outside schools.

Typically seen on rural roads near military bases, this sign tells you to watch out for slow-moving military vehicles crossing or driving on the road. Tanks can weigh up to 70 tons, so it’s unsurprising that they’re often limited to about 40 mph. One to be aware of if you’re driving near a military facility.

What kind of zone is this sign referring to? If you haven’t noticed any previous signs relating to parking restrictions, this sign can be confusing. But it simply means that any local parking restrictions are ending – so beyond this sign, parking is likely to be free. Always double check to be safe and avoid picking up a parking ticket.

This sign is another which commonly catches drivers out, thanks to its design (or lack of). If you see this sign, it means all vehicles are banned from using the road ahead. So, turn back or you could find yourself with a parking ticket!

No, your car isn’t automatically at risk of explosion if you see this sign. If you’re carrying explosives on behalf of your company or employer, however, you’ll be unable to enter this area. This sign means “No vehicles carrying explosives,” which could apply to couriers with sensitive cargo.

If you think this sign looks similar to the “no stopping” sign, that’s because it does. A blue circular background with a single diagonal red line across it means “no waiting” rather than no stopping. So, if you’re picking a passenger up in one of these areas, it’s worth avoiding stopping for too long.

If you’re often driving in rural areas, like Devon or Northumberland, you might’ve come across this sign before. It tells motorists that this road is a hotspot for Migratory Toad Crossings. Drivers should be aware of large numbers of toads crossing these roads, in order to reach their seasonal homes.

Usually seen near level crossings, or perhaps in tunnels, this sign denotes the fact that there are overhead electrical hazards in the area. It typically warns of danger, like the presence of overhead lines used for trains – particularly important for drivers of taller HGVs. You might also see similar signs near building sites where live overhead wires are providing power to large-scale plants or equipment.

Usually used when the road ahead splits into two, this sign tells drivers that both of the new lanes will direct people to the same location. This helps limit the need for drivers to merge or switch lanes – just stay the course and you’ll end up where you need to be.

This one seems fairly self-explanatory but it’s actually one of the UK’s rarer signs. This sign denotes a railway crossing with no marked barrier or gate to prevent crossing. Since most larger roads have gates to prevent people from crossing at the wrong time, you can expect these to primarily appear on smaller rural roads.

Nick Holmes, Technical Training Manager at Instarmac comments: “Knowing and understanding road signs is vital to being a safe driver and limiting the stress experienced by yourself and others. Some of these signs are incredibly common and all road users – especially those operating commercial vehicles – should be aware of them.

“Others in this list might seem like more of a novelty, but understanding how to react if you do see one of these signs is vital.”

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash