The European road signs that baffle British drivers – can YOU work out what they mean?

  • The thought of driving abroad is daunting even for the most experienced drivers 
  • 89% of Brit drivers admitted little or no understanding of European road signs
  • Italian road signs found to be most confusing, followed by Portugal and France 
  • If you were driving abroad, would YOU know what these road signs mean? 

British motorists have no idea what the majority of road signs in other countries mean.

In a survey of 2,000 drivers from the UK, 89 per cent admitted they had little or no understanding of road signs and highway rules in place in other European countries.

Italian road signs were found to be the most confusing, followed by those used in Portugal and France, according to the survey commissioned by easyJet and Europcar. 

Stuart Cole, Professor emeritus of transport at University of South Wales, helped analyse over 800 road signs from across eight European counties as part of the survey.

 He said: ‘Unfamiliar roads can be daunting for Brits travelling abroad due to the lack of expertise in foreign regulations and road signs.

‘European laws mean that many rules are similar, however, Brits should take the time to look through the traffic laws and signs of where they’re travelling to give them peace of mind to enjoy their trip’.

If you were driving abroad, would you know what these signs mean? 


Pictured left: A sign telling motorists not to park on the side of the I on odd days and on the side of the II on even days in Italy. Pictured right: Sign telling road users: ‘If you want to turn left from a main road then turn right first and take the road shown to cross the main road’ in Spain

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Pictured left: A sign used in France and Portugal warns: ‘No handcarts or wheelbarrows’. Pictured right: The image signals to Swiss drivers that they’re approaching an emergency lane with gravel trap

To ski or not to ski? This German road sign permits skiers to cross the road from 10am until 4pm


Pictured left: No vehicles carrying water pollutants are allowed past this point in Switzerland and Portugal. Pictured right: A French road signal indicates there’s an accident ahead that’s blocking the road


Both of these unusual road signs are used in the UK but have you ever come across them? Pictured left: Sharp bends ahead where traffic is diverted on to a temporary road for a short distance. Pictured right: Vehicles may pass either side to reach same destination

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