Do you know your road signs?

How much attention do you pay when you’re out driving? Do you note all the road signs? What about the obscure ones you don’t see often?

It’s difficult to take in every single road sign you pass when you’re out on the road. If you did, you’d spend more time reading the signs than watching the road. There are some road signs that are obvious, speed limit signs (and speed camera signs) for example. But then there are also some that you don’t see often, if at all, on your regular journeys.

So in this article, we’re going to go through some of the road signs you might not see all the time, and what they mean.

Wild Horses or Ponies

You probably won’t be seeing this road sign in London but possibly the more rural areas of the UK. While signs for Deer and cyclists are more common, this sign for Wild Horses is slightly rarer. If you do see this sign when you are driving, watch your speed and keep alert. Unless you’re Mick Jagger, in which case, carry on.

Overhead Electric Cable

You definitely will want to pay attention to this one otherwise you could be in for a nasty shock. The plate below will indicate the maximum height of vehicles which can pass safely. It’s the same when you see signs for low bridges except with electricity. It shouldn’t matter too much if you’re in a car, but if you’re in a van or lorry you should be aware.

Quayside or River Bank

Don’t worry, the road isn’t going to end and you aren’t going to end up plummeting into the sea. This is simply warning you that there is a Quayside or river bank nearby. So you could end up plummeting into the water if you aren’t careful, but we’re sure you are. And, that’s what that sign is there for.

Level Crossing Without Barrier or Gate Ahead

This is another really important sign. You might not see it often, if at all, but it’s vital if you want to stay safe on the roads. This sign means that there is a level crossing ahead that doesn’t have a barrier or gate. There will be signs immediately before the crossing as well telling you to give way. But if you see this sign, be wary of level crossings.

Warning of a Ford Ahead

Not a Ford Fiesta, but the natural phenomenon. As with many of these, you’re unlikely to see this in urban areas. A Ford is ‘a shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading, or inside a vehicle getting its wheels wet.’ So essentially, it’s warning you that your vehicle could get wet. If you see this sign, drive slowly, but also appreciate how clean your wheels will be after.

Lane Designated for High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV)

You may have seen this sign in and around cities. A High Occupancy Vehicle is just that, a vehicle with several people in it. This sign indicates that there is a lane dedicated to High Occupancy Vehicles during the times stated. If you do not fit the criteria (so if you are driving alone in this case) then you are not allowed to use this lane. You may also see signs like this that indicate that buses, taxis and motorcycles are also allowed to use this lane. Credit for Photo:

No Vehicles Carrying Explosives

You could see this sign before approaching Clyde Tunnel. Pretty self-explanatory, if you’re planning on driving through a tunnel, best leave the explosives at home. That said, in the current climate, this could well be taken more seriously particularly if you are going through long tunnels. This can include fireworks and any form of French banger. So, don’t try and smuggle them across the border (you won’t, but you might want to remind your kids). Also, should you want to transport a large amount of something that is an explosive then you will need a separate licence to do so.

Do not follow your Sat Nav

This sign isn’t supposed to be something out of a Black Mirror episode, but it does look like it. The sign is usually to warn HGV’s that their SatNav may be taking them on a route that has a low bridge or narrow roads. You may also see this on signs for diversions. Remember, SatNavs don’t always warn you of danger…and it’s because they are plotting against you. Just kidding, but seriously, they don’t take into account the type of vehicle you are in so may lead you somewhere that is not suitable.

Migratory toads crossing

This is a real thing and possibly the nicest warning a road sign can give you. If you see this, be aware of toads in the road. All they want to do is cross. Admittedly, ducks crossing is probably cuter but toads deserve to be slowed down for too!

Animal Disease Infected Area

While this looks like the sign you see at the beginning of a bad disaster movie, it does actually exist and is in the highway code. You probably won’t see a sign warning you of rabies in the UK. However, there were signs warning you that you were driving through an area that had Foot and Mouth disease and that you should keep driving instead of stopping. This was to prevent you from getting Foot and Mouth, of course, the animals weren’t coming at you like something out of Shaun of the Dead. Basically, if you see a sign like this, just keep driving and don’t stop for a picnic. Credit for Photo: there are some road signs that you should know, but might not see so often. The chances of you encountering these could be slim, but at least you will be prepared if you do. Ultimately, don’t always trust your Sat-Nav, watch out for toads and for goodness sake, don’t stop in a rabies infected area.


What are your favourite obscure road signs? Comment below! 

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