When were road signs introduced?

By Lewis on 13th July 2016 - View Comments

The first U.K. Road signs date back to 1880 when British cycling organisation began to erect signs in order to warn of hazards ahead and directions to destinations. As more cars flocked onto the roads there became a significant need for road signs as car drivers travelled quicker and further than cyclists and therefore needed signs in advance of their destination. A full detailed history of the U.K. Traffic signs can be found here.

The type font used on road signs is also quite significant. Unsurprisingly it is called ‘Transport’ and was designed in 1957 with the instruction of being read quickly and easily. You’ll notice when looking at road signs on your travels that the wording stands out and is easily legible which is essential when travelling at up to 70mph and your frantically looking for which direction to go.

You can see an example of the type font below, to read more on road sign type fonts click here.

Check out how confusing this sign is below, its of the Magic Roundabout in Swindon showing a rather unorthodox method of incorporating mini-roundabouts into signage. (The correct method, introduced in the 1994 TSRGD, is to use a black disc with a central white dot for each mini-roundabout.) This peculiarity is common in Wiltshire, we’ve not had the pleasure of driving it as yet but let us know how you get on if you do.

Road signs make up a large chunk of the theory test so learning and revising them is essential to obtaining your licence.

To download your copy of the Highway Code traffic signs ready for your theory test, click here.

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