Common Road Signs you Might Not Know the Meaning of

If you’ve been driving for a few years, there’s a good chance you’ve forgotten many of the finer details you learnt from the Highway Code. Road signs are there to keep us safe and on the right side of the law, so do you know what these often-misinterpreted road signs really mean? 

National speed limit

Most of us recognise the black line across the white background that indicates the national speed limit. You may not realise though that the national speed limit isn’t always 70mph, as different speed limits apply to different roads. If you’re driving along a single carriageway for example, then the limit is 60mph, rising to 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways. 

No motor vehicles

One of the most commonly misunderstood signs out there, there are plenty of us who think this sign means ‘cars and motorbikes only’. There might also be the odd wacky racer who thinks a motorbike’s about to come flying over their head, but the sign actually prohibits you from driving along the road it’s guarding. 

Slippery road

A very common sign when you’re driving in the countryside, it may be one you don’t fully understand. You might think this sign only applies to reckless drivers, but it’s actually warning you that the road’s often slippery and could easily cause you to skid. 

Wild animals

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this sign’s there to warn you about nearby deer. However, don’t crane your neck looking to see a beautiful beast with imposing horns, as the sign actually covers all animals big and small - so be careful you don’t take out something little in the road ahead. 

Level crossing with barrier or gate ahead

This road sign isn’t telling you to look out for an elegant picket fence up ahead. It’s not all that obvious as it makes no reference to trains that may be hurtling along, but it’s warning you there’s a level crossing ahead which you might need to stop for - and look out for the barrier coming down when you do. 

Minimum speed

This sign may be very uncommon, but that doesn’t make it any less confusing if you happen to spot it. Most of us would think a big number 30 on a road sign means there’s a 30mph speed limit in force. However, when it’s a white number on a blue circular background, it actually indicates a minimum speed. 

Uneven road

This sign might look as though it’s trying to tell you there are two little hills or speed bumps coming up. You’d be right if there was just one hump shown, but two humps are in fact warning you about an uneven road. 

T-junction with priority over vehicles from the right

This sign’s trying to tell you that you have priority over vehicles coming from the right as you’re approaching a T-junction. It can be a confusing one as it’s not immediately clear what the unusual black outline shown on the sign means. If you still can’t get your head around this road sign, the dotted lines on the road surface should help you decipher it, and figure out you have the right of way over cars approaching from your right.