Drive like a Dream – Understanding Road Markings and Signs

Whenever you are out in your car it is crucial that you understand what written on the road, and the signs around it, so that you can make the right decisions to keep you and fellow drivers safe. Understanding road markings and signs tell us where we can go and where we can stop, helping to keep traffic flowing and people from parking in areas they shouldn’t.

There are a number of road markings that need to be understood and obeyed; ones that prevent us from travelling a certain route, or from getting in trouble by stopping the car somewhere we shouldn’t.

Designated Lanes

A Bus Lane is exactly that; a part of the road that is only accessible to buses. When checking the sign beside the lane there will sometimes be designated times when you are allowed to use it. If there are no times written on the sign, then it is likely to be a 24 hour bus lane, so avoid.

The same rules apply to Cycle Lanes too. Never drive or park in a designated cycle lane when it is in operation, unless it is completely unavoidable.

Words on the Road

When there is writing on the road it will usually be giving you an instruction that it is crucial you obey. Keep Clear is a good example, letting you know that to park or stop where you are means you are blocking an entrance to a road or driveway.

Another is Slow, usually meaning that you are approaching a bend, or a roundabout. It is obviously beneficial that you adjust your speed to deal with this. Stop too is an easy to understand demand. This will be at a junction, next to a Red Stop Sign and with a White Line in the road.


For a school beside a road there will always be an area of Yellow Zigzag Lines outside, alongside a Keep Clear instruction. This combination asks drivers not to stop or park on the lines during school hours, and means that both drivers and children have a clear view of exactly what traffic is coming from either direction. This keeps kids visible and safe.

Destination Marking

When you reach a busy junction it is often best to look at road markings for guidance. Lanes will usually have Arrows or Numbers on the road surface that help you choose a lane in plenty of time, to make sure that you turn in the right direction.

Speed Reduction

When it is time to reduce your speed you will be prompted by either a Slow sign, or by Raised Yellow Lines that are painted across the carriageway on the approach to a roundabout, or before entering a village. This will usually come after a period of having driven at high speed, and are a reminder that now is the time to be aware of how fast you are going.

Yellow Boxes

The purpose of the Yellow Box is to keep a junction open by preventing cars from stopping in the path of crossing traffic. You should only ever enter the box if you exit road is clear. The only exception is if you are Turning Right and your way is obstructed by oncoming traffic.