Home > Other Offences > Failure to Comply with Traffic Signs

Failure to Comply with Traffic Signs

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 9 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Road Signs Committee Anderson Committee

There are so many road signs with so many different meanings that it would be extremely impressive if you could name them all without getting any wrong. But if you drive then you should have a good idea of what the various signs mean and what you are expected to do when you find one. Part of the driving theory test concentrates on road and traffic signs, asking if the candidate knows the different meanings of different signs and the rules and regulations associated with them. so if you are planning on taking your driving test you will need to make sure you brush up on this area.

History of Road Signage

In the early part of the 20th century, road sign standards were merely guidelines - but all that changed in 1930 when they were regulated as part of the Road Traffic Act. Turn of the century signing was replaced by the Warboys committee who, in conjunction with the Anderson Committee – responsible for motorway signing - went on to put the current system in place in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Design

There are very strict standards governing traffic signs and their design, held together in a document named Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD), and the system was introduced on New Years Day 1965.

Three different colour schemes are in use for the direction signs and these depend on the road classification on which it is positioned.

  • Motorway - white lettering on a blue background
  • Primary route - white lettering on dark green background with route numbers displayed in yellow.
  • Non-primary route - which is black letters on a white background.
  • All signs have rounded edges, which is mostly because it is less dangerous for those fitting the signs. It's also thought that they are more pleasing to the eye than sharply edged signs.
Common signs you are likely to come across in day to day motoring:

Warning Signs
Arguably the most important signs you are likely to come across - they are mostly triangular in shape and are emphasised by a bright red border. They, as you would expect, indicate a situation that needs your full attention - such as road works ahead, falling rocks, other danger (exclamation mark).

Regulatory Signs
If a sign has a red circular border, it is telling you that you are not allowed to do something - regardless of whether or not they have a red line going diagonally across it. For example, no pedestrians, no cycling, no motor vehicles.Round blue signs give positive mandatory instructions - for example, ahead only, keep left, turn right ahead, one way.

Road Work signs
You'll see them usually highlighted in yellow to make them stand out and they are often weighed down with sandbags to keep them grounded. The initial 'road works ahead' indicator will be a red outlined triangular warning sign as mentioned earlier and should be positioned some distance before the road works take place.

The Penalties for Ignoring Road Signs

Apart from the obvious – like finding yourself in a huge hole in the ground, under a rockslide or driving the wrong way down a one way street, the dangers of ignoring traffic signs can include prosecution, Endorsement and Fines.

Over recent years many motorists seem to be becoming more blasé about road signs and an increasing number of drivers ignore them completely. Over recent years many police forces have handed over the responsibility to enforce penalties for such offences to local authorities who are bringing in various different levels of fines and punishments across the country. In Summer 2007, some London boroughs were hitting the headlines after bringing in regulations which punish motorists who are seen to ignore any of the 21 road signs chosen by the local authority as the 'most important' - slapping them with a £100 fine and the threat of a court summons if they don’t pay up.

Of course motorists who ignore the signs may also find themselves hit with a 'driving without due care and attention' or 'driving without reasonable consideration for other road users' charge which can include both a fine and endorsements on their license. Road and Traffic signs are there to ensure the safety of pedestrians and other road users, so if you intend to use the road you should follow the regulations. If you feel you need to brush up on the different signs and what they mean, the Highway Code is a great place to start!

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I live on a street where the road has only been shut off on one end due to a drain collapsing, no one I was taking responsibility for it but the highway have closed it and the hole has been surrounded yet cars are moving barriers and road closed sign to get through. My towns police aren't bothered or doing anything about it. What do I do as it's right outside my house, thanks
Geegee - 9-Feb-17 @ 11:20 PM
I was in a road that i did not know today, the blue circle with a white arrow was pointing right but my sat nav told me to turn left so i went left. Will i be done for this? Not sure if there were cameras or not but it was not on a busy road.
TashaW - 1-Feb-17 @ 5:03 PM
I was driving through Wolverhampton by Waterloo Road. I accidentally went through a one way system by the Kentucky Fried Chicken and turned left. After realising my mistake, I turned my car around. What's going to happen to me now? I'm extremely petrified and worried.
Rainna - 19-Jan-17 @ 6:47 PM
Hi I drove past a policeman at 10-15 mph and plugged charge in but looked down for split second think no more of it and 100yards up the road they stop me and charged me for not being in full control of the car is this right
ray - 11-Jan-17 @ 6:08 PM
Rik - Your Question:
I was driving a small van contracting for work in Harringey, London and turned left when the signs said I should go straight. Should the fine be as high as £130.00 ? I had a similar PCN in the same borough about 9 months ago and the fine was £60.00 reduced to £30.00 if paid within 14 days? This was a genuine mistake and was not intentional.What is going on with this council??

Our Response:
We've had a few other comments about the variations in charges and have made a request that a list of PCN charges is published somewhere (easy to find) on their website as we couldn't find a breakdown anywhere.
NoPenaltyPoints - 9-Jan-17 @ 12:03 PM
I was driving a small van contracting for work in Harringey, London and turned left when the signs said I should go straight. Should the fine be as high as £130.00 ? I had a similar PCN in the same borough about 9 months ago and the fine was £60.00 reduced to £30.00 if paid within 14 days? This was a genuine mistake and was not intentional. What is going on with this council??
Rik - 7-Jan-17 @ 12:44 PM
I was pulling out of a give way and did not see any signs stating that there was no right turns, I am not used to the area I was driving in and it was very late at night, so I accidentally turned right onto a one way dual carraigeway with 3 lanes - driving the wrong way! As soon as I had realised what I had done I turned around straight away to proceed the correct way. I'm not sure If there was any cameras, and also nobody saw as nobody else was on the dual carraigeway! Will I get in trouble, also if I do what will the punishment be
Jenny - 13-Oct-16 @ 11:24 PM
malc - Your Question:
I drove past a police car that was blocking one lane of a dual carriage way thinking there was only one lane closed. when I drove down the road a police officer stopped me and told me the road was closed and made me turn back.when I got back to the police car another officer got very angry and told me I had passed" road closed "signs but the signs were not there initially and the officer had to remove the signs to let me back into traffic I could not have got passed if they had been there originally. the officer said I had done this deliberately which I denied but he shouted I would get" something through the post" he did not take any details and did not give me a ticket will I still be charged?

Our Response:
There's a chance they may have noted your registration number and intend to follow up, but we really don't know.
NoPenaltyPoints - 13-Oct-16 @ 10:48 AM
i drove past a police car that was blocking one lane of a dual carriage way thinking there was only one lane closed . when I drove down the road a police officer stopped me and told me the road was closed and made me turn back. when I got back to the police car another officer got very angry and told me I had passed" road closed "signs but the signs were not there initially and the officer had to remove the signs to let me back into traffic I could not have got passed if they had been there originally. the officer said I had done this deliberately which I denied but he shouted I would get" something through the post" he did not take any details and did not give me a ticket will I still be charged?
malc - 12-Oct-16 @ 10:43 AM
Callum - Your Question:
My girlfriend was stopped by police for ignoring a road sign (driving under a one-way bridge). We were told it was likely she'd get a £100 fine + 3 points, but it was out of the police officers' hands. This was three weeks ago but we haven't heard anything? Are we OK to ignore it if we haven't heard anything?Thanks

Our Response:
Yes the police actually have up to 6 months in which to initiate further action, so don't "breath out" just yet!
NoPenaltyPoints - 4-Aug-16 @ 2:49 PM
My girlfriend was stopped by police for ignoring a road sign (driving under a one-way bridge). We were told it was likely she'd get a £100 fine + 3 points, but it was out of the police officers' hands. This was three weeks ago but we haven't heard anything? Are we OK to ignore it if we haven't heard anything? Thanks
Callum - 3-Aug-16 @ 3:32 PM
I made a u-turn at the traffic lights where I wasn't allowed to, what is the penalty for this offence? Just a fine, or a fine and points on my license? So annoying, I was following my phones directions:/ Thank-you
Courts95 - 17-Feb-16 @ 10:18 PM
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