Mistakes

It's not easy to design a road sign. There are whole books of official guidance on the subject. You have to know a wealth of information to get the right colours, designs, layouts, spacing of text, kerning, tracking and weighting of letters. You need to make sure the radius of curves is correct when compared to the stroke width and letter height. You need to be able to work out when patches are needed and when you're allowed to use a flag or a stack-type sign.

Most of the time the resulting sign is correct, and when British road signs are made properly, they can be great pieces of graphic design work.

Unfortunately it doesn't always go right — whether it's bad design or just a lack of proof reading. Sometimes it's the right sign in the wrong place. This gallery documents some truly terrible mistakes on road signs past and present.

Routes

What's new

Go west! New Ringways pages are here

A new set of Ringways pages are now online, looking at unbuilt motorways and road projects west of London.

No smoke without ire

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone has just expanded to cover the whole inner city, and across the UK, other cities are implementing their own Clean Air Zones. Is this the future?

Devon help us

Road signs are colour coded for different types of road, but in Devon there are more colours than anywhere else. What do Devon's colourful signs mean?

Have you seen...

Scammonden Bridge

If you've ever been on the M62 across the Pennines, you'll know the one. It's the huge arched bridge 120ft above the road. And this is what it's like when you're standing on top of it!