Road sign failure for a third of motorists

Road sign failure for a third of motorists  
Filed under:
Safety, News
on 06/13/2006


One in three motorists fail to recognise even the most basic road sign, according to the results of a new survey. Overall, male drivers fared marginally better than their female counterparts, with a 68.1 percent success rate compared to 62.4 percent in the poll conducted by NEW CAR NET. The biggest disparity in the battle of the sexes related to the ‘uneven road’ warning, illustrated by two humps inside a red triangle. Just 53.7 percent of women correctly identified it, compared to 71.4 percent of men; a quarter of women thought it referred to a ‘hump backed bridge’.

Age also has an effect on a motorist’s ability to recognise road signs. Those aged between 55 and 64 are the most knowledgeable, whilst drivers in the 25-34 bracket are the worst – 71 percent to 53 percent respectively. The age group typically associated with new drivers, 17-24 year olds, were alarmingly the second worst with 58 percent.

In the poll of over 1,100 motorists, less than 2 percent of respondents actually scored the maximum 100 percent score. Qualified visitors to NEW CAR NET were asked to correctly identify ten basic road signs in a multiple-choice format similar to the current theory test.

It comes as no surprise to learn that the most universally recognised sign was also a common sight on Britain’s roads – the ‘two way traffic crosses one way road’ sign. The sign used to designate a segregated pedestrian and cycle route scored the worst.

“Time proves to be a good educator,” says Massimo Pini of NEW CAR NET, “But it is a concern that so few of us on the road can remember the most basic of signs.”

“We seem to think that as long as we can mechanically perform the function of driving, we don’t need to worry about what a road sign is telling us anymore.”

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