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Millions of motorists have forgotten what they were taught when they were learning to drive


Millions of motorists have forgotten what they were taught when they were learning to drive – with many even now unable to identify common road signs, a study found.

Research revealed three quarters of drivers no longer know the meaning of all the road signs featured in the Highway Code.


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Alarmingly, only 14 per cent of those under 24 are fully confident in naming road signs, despite having taken their test in recent years.

Men show more confidence than women with 58 per cent of men claiming to be fully confident in comparison to 48 per cent of women.


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Residents from the east Midlands claim to recall the most, with one third claiming they could remember everything from their driving test compared to less than one fifth from Wales.


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Even though 95 per cent of the nation can correctly identify the sign for a hump-backed bridge, a shocking three quarters of those aged 24 and under failed to name this symbol.

Two out of five didn’t know the sign for risk of grounding with over half of under 24 year olds thinking it meant bumpy road.


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Unsurprisingly, three out of five people aged 55 and over feel confident naming all road signs compared to just over half of 45 to 54 year olds.

Most adults weren’t even aware there are three different types of road signs, giving orders, warning people and informing, all signified by shape.

Over 60% of drivers didn’t know the meanings behind a road sign in blue circle, which is a sign giving an order.


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David Carter, spokesman for Accident Advice Helpline, which commissioned the research, said:

“Road signs are segregated into three shapes; circles to give order, triangles warn and rectangles inform people. It was surprising to see how many drivers were unaware of the significance of the shape of a sign let alone its meaning. It’s worrying how many people don’t know basic road signs when driving their vehicle. Understanding road signs are vital to road safety and not knowing their meaning can result in accidents due to ignorance.”

Nearly two thirds of drivers didn’t know the meaning behind a blue circle sign, with 16 per cent of those under 24 believing it meant a restriction zone.

A staggering 43 per cent misunderstand the sign for no motor vehicles, thinking it means cars and motorbikes only.


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Half of Brits will copy the driver in front if unsure on the meaning of a road sign and 16 per cent will choose to ignore it all together.

When unsure of a sign’s meaning, just 14 per cent would stop in a safe place to check its meaning with one in ten asking a passenger.

One in twenty drivers will avoid an area all together when unsure of a road sign meaning.


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One quarter admit there are some signs they will actively ignore with more than one in ten disregarding speed limit signs.

A further eight per cent confess to ignoring loading zones and six per cent disregarding parking restrictions.

The lack of knowledge motorists have about road signs can spell danger with one in five drivers being involved in a near-miss accident and one in twenty being involved in a road accident because either they or another driver didn’t understand a road sign.


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QUIZ : How well do you know your road signs?

Below are 20 questions to test how well you know your signs. Think carefully about your answers as you can’t change your mind once you’ve selected an option. If you get a question right your answer will go green but if you answer a question incorrectly look out for the answer highlighted in green.

Check your score at the end and share your results!


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