A home-interview survey was undertaken to investigate road users' understanding of a total of 46 prohibitory, warning, mandatory and information signs and of a number of features of direction signs. Individual signs were correctly identified by between 18 and 100 per cent of drivers, the average being 74 per cent. The signs for 'speed limit', 'no U-turns', 'no left turn' and 'traffic signals' were understood by at least 96 per cent of drivers. There was confusion between some of the signs, particularly those relating to cycling. About one-sixth of respondents gave the opposite meaning to the 'no cycling' and 'no pedestrians' signs and one-third gave the wrong direction for a slope on the 'steep hill' sign. In general, signs were best understood by those driving high mileages, by those in lower age groups and by those in the higher social groups. Non-drivers understandably had lower success rates - about 53 per cent overall. The features of direction signs also gave rise to a wide range of success rates. The blue background to motorway signs was understood by 87 per cent of drivers, but the significance of other features such as the pointed end of signs used at junctions and the use of blue as opposed to black borders on white direction signs were understood by less than 15 per cent of drivers. (A)

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