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Unusual British road signs

O2 Drive

Our favourite unusual British road signs

Traffic signs keep us safe on the road and point us in the right direction every day. We all need to know our road signs, both for the theory test and real life driving – however obscure they might seem.

Traffic signs are supposed to be understood straight away. Various designs have been tried (and argued about) over the years, but it was a government report in 1964 that came up with the bold and distinctive standards we see today.

Now some of these designs are over fifty years old though, they seem pretty obscure to us. Here are a few of our favourite British road signs, in all their random glory.

Beware of horsedrawn vehicles

It might be rare, but it’s definitely something that drivers need to be aware of. You’re most likely to spot these in heritage towns and in the country.

Level crossing signs

More Thomas the Tank Engine than Crossrail, we still use the steam loco on level crossing signs.

Military operations

You'd be forgiven for thinking it’s a warning about saucepans. You’d find this tank sign near military bases. A rare example of a graphic design fail.

No explosives

An unusual use of colour. This dramatic sign has grabbed Highway Code revisers’ attentions for years. It’s not as obscure as it first sounds – it’s most often found at tunnels or near certain manufacturing sites.

A whole menagerie

As a nation of animal lovers, it’s no surprise that rural areas have signs to protect local beasties. The charm of these is how specific they become. You might expect cows, sheep and horses – but ducks? Toads? The deer is truly beautiful, but the otter looks a bit like a diplodocus.

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