Drive like a Dream – Understanding Road Signs


When you are out on the road there is a lot to take in. You need to be aware of the drivers around you, which lane you are in, or need to get into, and where you want to go. The roadside is littered with instructions, so understanding road signs and knowing exactly what you are expected to do when you see them is crucial to being able to act fast and react.

There are several standard designs that are used to indicate which action you need to take. Seeing a certain colour or shape should immediately explain to you what you are likely to be asked to do, or avoid doing. Below are a list of the most commonly seen road signs, with examples of what you are likely to be asked or told when you see them.

Red Circles

When you see a Red Circle you are being given an order that forbids you from doing something. The ‘30’ sign below for instance prohibits you from driving above that speed, and the arrow pointing right with a red line through it prevents you from turning in that direction. There are also signs that instruct you not to overtake, and that ask you to give way to oncoming traffic.

Blue Circles

A Blue Circle will also give you an instruction, only this time it will be a positive one, encouraging you to perform an action. Generally they will show you where to position your car, such as the keep to the left sign below, or the other that instructs you to keep going ahead. As well as directions, a Blue Circle sign will explain what certain spaces are for. That could be for an area that is for bikes only, or one that is split between cycles and pedestrians.

Red Triangle

Red Triangles denote a warning that there is something coming up that demands your attention. The most common include warnings that the dual carriageway is coming to an end, becoming instead a single lane, and that you are approaching a roundabout. Others you might come across that need immediate attention could include warnings to be aware of falling rocks, or that there may be animals crossing ahead.

Brown Signs

Brown Signs give you directions to a tourist attraction. Major zoos, theme parks and nature reserves will usually be found on a Brown Sign. There is also likely to be an icon on the sign too, explaining what kind of attraction it is. There will sometimes be an indication of distance too.

Stop Signs

The Stop Sign has a design all of its own. An octagon shape and bright red, the Stop Sign is one of the road’s most important. When you see ‘STOP’ it is difficult to confuse what you need to do.

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