InTrans / Sep 08, 2014
Bizarre road signs from around the world
posted on September 8, 2014
Road signs in the United States are pretty predictable and clear. Thanks to early innovators in the Midwest, sign shapes were established in the early 20th century. They believed uniform shapes would, in theory, help drivers know what to do without even reading the sign.
So, we should all be thankful for those early innovators if you can correctly answer this question: “What sign do you think of when I say ‘octagon’?”
You can imagine the drivers’ confusion before road signs were invented. The US knew that early on, it was important to set a standard for all traffic signs. This led to the creation of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) in 1935. Thanks to this manual, we have standards for coloration and shape. Red means stop, green means direction, orange means construction, yellow means a general warning, and so forth. (Check out “Seeing the signs: finding meaning behind traffic control signs” to read more about road symbols and design).
But road standardization is not a priority everywhere. The road signs below are very interesting; while you look at the following signs, see if you can understand the message being conveyed.
Tank crossing in the UK
I have seen a lot of yield signs, but I have never seen a yield sign specifically for tanks crossing! I guess the local people would get used to huge tanks crossing the road.
Watch out for kangaroos
Kangaroos crossing in the Australian outback is probably pretty normal for those who drive this road often.
Car falling off a cliff
This is a very daunting sign! In the US, we would most likely say “narrow roadway.”
Elderly people crossing
This sign seems like it may be overstepping some boundaries! I guess if there is a sign for school children, why not the elderly? This sign is likely to be near retirement homes to warn drivers to be cautious.
Car on fire
I’m not so sure what they are trying to warn us of! This sign is located in Beijing, China.
By Jackie Nester, Go! Staff Writer