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Road Signs, Road Markings And Their Meanings

The JCB Group Roadcraft Series - Blog 3

On our recent Advanced Driver Training Course we were tested on our knowledge of road signs, road markings and their meanings from The Highway Code book. If the last time you read your Highway Code was when you were swotting for your driving test, then remember the Highway Code’s motto – it’s for life, not just for learners! #Safedrivingforlife

Spruce up your road sign knowledge with a few of the road signs and road markings that stumped us on our test...

Roundabout signs and road markings

Did you know that a yellow border around the black and white chevrons on a roundabout sign indicate that this is an accident hotspot? The larger the border edging, the greater the potential danger. This is based on the number of road deaths and accidents that have occurred at these junctions. Similarly, many roundabouts now have white diagonal striped areas marked on the road which mean you must keep out of that area. They are all helping to slow traffic down and filter the lanes correctly around the roundabout.

Roundabout road sign

Road markings and their meaning on ‘A’ roads.

Have you also noticed the different centre lines along ‘A’ roads? Ordinary centre lines are white and are in a broken line down the centre of the road to separate the opposing flows of traffic. However, when the lines have longer length painted sections, they indicate a potential hazard coming up. As our Advanced Driving Instructor said, “more paint, more danger”.

Another indicator of potential trouble ahead is where there are street lamps on say, the left hand side of the road only, meaning the road will bend to the right, and vice versa.

Edge lines, on the extreme left of the road and coloured solid white, act as an indication of the furthest left you can safely position yourself on the carriageway. They are helpful in fog and mist and on unlit stretches of road where you can't make out the edge.

Road markings on an 'A' road

When should you indicate to turn off at a motorway junction?

We asked our instructor, 'how soon should you indicate to turn off at a motorway junction?' Countdown markers at the exit from a motorway indicate 3, 2 then 1 diagonal stripe leading up to the exit lane. They are positioned 100 yards apart, the first being 300 yards (or 270 metres) from the start of the slip road. Advice is, you should start signalling your intention to leave the motorway when level with the 3 stripe sign and should at this point already be in the left-hand lane.

Motorway countdown markers

What do the different shapes of road sign mean?

What information would be shown in a triangular road sign?

If you’ve ever wondered what the different shapes of road signs mean - as a general rule:

  • Signs with red circles are mostly prohibitive.
  • Triangular road signs are mostly warning signs and are outlined in red.
  • Plates below signs qualify their message, such as, ‘give way to oncoming vehicles’.
  • Signs with blue circles but no red border mainly give positive instructions.
  • Signs on motorways have blue backgrounds, and signs on primary routes have green backgrounds.
  • Brown signs usually indicate tourist attractions and points of interest.

Test yourself! Here’s a road sign that stumped our advanced driving students. What does this road sign actually mean?

Check in with our next blog to find out the answer. Clue – no, it’s not “beware low flying motorbikes”!

Roadsign recognition

Next Steps...

Why not buy the latest copy of the Highway Code and test your family on a long car journey? You’ll be surprised the disagreements that ensue, but it will be a great way to be improve your roadcraft and be safer on the road.

Why not try our link to the government’s practice driving theory test? It’s free and a great way to test your knowledge.
It’s within our helpful ‘New Drivers’ Section’.

We will be posting a competition on our social media too and the winner will receive a voucher for a Drivers Domain UK Driver Experience.* You can choose from advanced training, refresher training, building confidence, new car familiarisation, young driver, mature driver, performance car driving or post RTC confidence boosting.

After many of us have been unable to drive for so long during lockdown, we say #hellofreedom. #lovedriving.

JCB Group staff taking a Highway Code quiz
JCB Group staff on an advanced driving course
JCB Group staff taking a Highway Code quiz

*One lucky winner will be chosen at random from our social media followers who correctly identify a road sign from the Highway Code which we will publish at the end of our roadcraft blog series, this now moved to mid-January 2022, linked via social media. Our social media links can be found at the top border of our website pages.