UK Road Signs Explained

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UK Road Signs Explained

A good understanding of UK road signs keeps everyone on the roads safe, including yourself and other people around you. Plus, you don’t want to accidentally break the law and land yourself a hefty fine because you were unaware of what a sign meant.

Here we will look at some of the most common road signs and meanings, so you know exactly what you need to be doing when you're behind the wheel.


What does road sign shapes mean?

Did you know that there are three different road sign shapes, and they all mean something different?


Rectangular road sign shapes

To tell you what is ahead, for example, an upcoming junction or bus lanes.


Circular road sign shapes

Give orders to drivers that must be followed and are otherwise breaking the law, for example, speed limits or prohibiting overtaking another car.


Triangular road sign shapes

To let you know that you’re approaching a hazard, for example, a sharp bend or a zebra crossing.


The most common road signs in the UK


Speed limit signs

This will be the most common road sign that you'll see while driving and instructs you of the maximum speed you're allowed to travel on that road.


National speed limit

The national speed limit will vary depending on the type of road you're on. This will be 60mph for single carriageways and 70mph dual carriageways. If you're towing a vehicle, you must travel 10mph slower.


Right bend ahead

This sign warns drivers of a sharp bend to the right. In the case of a sharp bend to the left, it will be reversed.


Average speed check

This tells the driver that there is a stretch of road with more than one speed camera to measure the average speed of vehicles along a road.

With-flow bus lane ahead that can also be used by pedal cycles and taxis

This shows that there is a bus lane ahead that can be used by cyclists and taxis. Hours of operation may also be shown underneath.


One way road sign

This signals that a road is one way only.


No vehicles

Vehicles are prohibited on roads that have this signposted.


No overtaking

Drivers are not allowed to overtake another for safety reasons such as poor visibility or the road being too narrow.


Roundabout ahead

Warns drivers that there is a roundabout ahead.


Narrow roads ahead

Warns driver that the road ahead is narrow, and that traffic should adjust accordingly. This can also be varied to show narrow roads on either the left- or right-hand side of the road.


Gradient road sign

Warns driver that there is a steep hill in the road – this can either slope upwards or downwards.


Strong wind ahead

Warns drivers that strong winds are common which can affect driving, for example at high altitudes or on exposed bridges.

If there are any other road signs you don’t know that we haven’t covered, take a look at the online Highway Code. Traffic signs are Crown copyright.

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