The importance of the road traffic sign can simply never be understated. It plays an integral part in keeping commuters alive and out of harm’s way. Although law enforcement sometimes has its hands full with unruly drivers, and city councils are forced to put up more traffic signs to curb behaviour, there are also those signs that simply cannot be taken seriously. Much like the court case aptly named "One 1958 Plymouth Sedan v. Pennsylvania," there are some road users who may want to take their local authorities to task on these signs.
Road signs have been a necessary evil ever since their inception in the late 1800s, thanks to the invention of the first automobile. Their importance escalated with the number of cars that started filling up those lanes. The Brits recognized the importance of streamlining these signs to ensure they’re easy to see and respond to, two critical components in road safety. This relevant event celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 and, to this day, heralds the simplicity of the British traffic system. Unfortunately, there are tiny pockets of people in communities across the world that deem this process too simple. Instead, they look forward to the looks of confusion as drivers try to decipher some of the complicated signs out there.
Discover some of the worst traffic signs across the world to ever make their way into the lives of unsuspecting drivers. They may not all make sense, but they do provide a decent amount of laughs.
20 Please Do What?
Before sending the grammar police over to this preschool, the obvious error on the sign seems to have a hidden agenda. According to locals, the preschool based in California was alarmed at the lack of consideration drivers showed pupils. The sign was a means of alerting drivers to their speed levels by playing a trick of the eyes and thereby catching their attention.
Unfortunately, the result is an eyesore that only seems to distract drivers rather than cause them to slow down.
It also places the school in a bind with their reputation, as parents may think twice about sending their kids there to study if basic grammar doesn’t seem to be a requirement for entry.
19 Perhaps A Case Of A Missing Budget
Lazy council? Lack of budget? Or simply just a case of apathy is what faces the 123 residents of No Name, Colorado. As if the name isn’t bad enough already, it’s named after No Name Creek. Not kidding. For Colorado, a state that thrives with lazy names such as the "Rockies" and "Colorado River," it’s a no-brainer that they'd have a hard time naming any place, but "No Name" seems a little extreme. There won’t be any naming campaigns or competitions, as the residents are quite proud of their little region’s name—or lack thereof. Considering this region has been without a name for almost two centuries, it’s safe to assume it will remain as is.
18 All Roads Lead To Llantwit Major… And Llanilltud Fawr
When you Google "Llantwit Major," TripAdvisor pops up with a suggestion of fifteen things to do in this coastal Welsh town. This is is consoling to those who were afraid of taking the thousand roads that lead to this destination and end up with nothing to do. The drive to this little town is scenic, if not confusing.
Although there are many towns that have more than one road leading into it, it’s unusual that they’re in different directions.
What makes it a little more interesting is that Llanilltud Fawr is mentioned on the same signs in opposite directions. To be fair, Wales isn't quite big enough to get lost in for long, and at least all roads lead to Llantwit Major... And Llanilltud Fawr.
17 Oh Look, The Future
“It had occurred to him that if the undead don’t realize that they are dead, he might easily be one of them himself,” Dan Chaon wrote in his book, Stay Awake. Although we haven’t quite entered the dystopian worlds of World War Z and The Walking Dead, our addiction to smartphones is fast becoming a debilitating disease that prevents us from functioning like normal human beings. Experts refer to this phenomenon as distracted walking and it is a cause for concern in cities such as Seoul and Hong Kong, enough so to warrant putting up signs to warn those who haven't fallen prey to the smartphone zombie virus to be on the lookout for the herd.
16 Paid For Being Obvious
Good old Georgia. The home of Coca-Cola and stating the obvious. Meadow Glen Parkway is the connection between Bohannon Road and Starbucks, it seems, and for it, pedestrians are rewarded with a few feet of roughing it on the grass if they decide to walk for their caffeine fix of the day. Thankfully, those who've had to endure the journey before were kind enough to tread the same route and have made a little footpath to make the trip a little bit less odious. What's a little concerning is the placement of this signpost, especially if combined with the smartphone zombie crowd.
15 Never Mind The Non-Existent Bridge
There are few things that spur people into action quite like the word “don’t.” Perhaps it’s the rebellious nature of man, or perhaps it’s the intrigue of the unknown, but signs that tell you not to press that button or to knock on the glass tend to cause an itching sensation that'll be only be quelled once the proverbial button is pushed. This sign, however, is a whole other barrel of fish entirely. First, it compels you to get out of the car just to check the sharpness of that edge and then sneakily diverts your attention to the very dangerous end of the road ahead. The lesson here, folks, is that this sign is intended to keep only the very inquisitive alive, as anyone else would just miss the danger ahead entirely.
14 Deer Fight Back
It’s simply not enough to warn travellers that a specific area of the road has deer crossing. In this area, thanks to a few unsuspecting tourists who probably tried to pet a doe or take a selfie with it, the local authorities have deemed it necessary to warn of impending deer doom.
An attack from a deer isn't as far-fetched as it seems.
In 2017, a deer attacked a man and hooked his face with his antlers. Almost losing an eye, the 34-year-old claimed that the deer was rabid. Unfortunately, the deer succumbed to rabies, but this at least meant that no one else encountered the wild beast.
13 Love Me Tender
India is known for its exotic spices, and things tend to heat up a little as travellers make their way up the Indian Himalayas. A drive up these slopes offers not only panoramic vistas and breathtaking lookout points but also some dodgy twists and turns. Due to the high accident rate on this stretch of road, the authorities have decided to come up with more memorable signage. As a driver, it’s hard to resist a calm request to be gentle on those curves. This humorous attempt at quelling a serious dilemma should see some positive results as drivers look forward to reading the next sign, although this, in turn, may just cause a speeding dilemma.
12 Yes, No, Maybe
This must be the longest stretch of road in order for a sign like this to even exist. It only makes provision for the driver to turn right in two instances, and the sign designer deemed it necessary to point out these conditions.
Just in case there’s too much written on the sign for travellers to read all in one go, they'll have to do a few lefts to read it all again.
The only problem is, the sign is valid for only 10 meters. And it gives permission to turn at the next junction and Rufus Stone, which begs the question: how many opportunities can there possibly be in 10 meters?
11 One Way Any Way We Want It
This isn't one for the procrastinators, as it just leaves one too many options available. Drivers can choose to take one way or one way. This would be a frustrating conundrum for travellers, as they wouldn’t know what they’re getting themselves into. There’s also clearly a bit of OCD going on here, as they just want to make sure that travellers know that they can go one way or, well, the other. For the average driver, the usual chevron would've done the trick, but this area probably needed to reach a certain budget in road signs in order to make their target. At this rate, they might just exceed that target.
10 Good Old India
The Indian Himalayas never disappoint, and this second instalment of bizarre traffic signs features one that might be a little difficult to obey. Although many of the signs along this road are touched with a bit of Himalayan humour, this one seems to have a slightly more serious side to it.
In fact, this stretch of India is known to have one of the highest accident rates.
Perhaps the sign is designed to alert drivers to the dangers of the road ahead, or perhaps there's further penance to add to the hospital bill should this road prove to be as treacherous as it seems.
9 Doomed If You Do, Doomed If You Don’t
Ever come across a person who had a hard time expressing himself? In this city, the person in question works for the traffic department. Where a yield sign might have sufficed, the party in question decided to place drivers in a rather precarious position. According to Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman, fewer traffic signs are far safer, as drivers are far more alert. He's responsible for freeing up the Dutch traffic system from cumbersome traffic-sign clutter, and the result is reflected in the significant drop in road traffic incidents. Not only did it reduce accidents, but it also helped free up traffic by reducing congestion.
8 At Least A Famous Person Lived Here
You know you’ve just entered a town where the local news includes the neighbourhood cat having a litter of kittens in the town hall when the champion turkey caller gets a sign all for himself. Scooba, Mississippi is just that kind of place, and considering that this tiny town doesn’t have a single attraction to list on TripAdvisor or Yelp, the birth of Jack Lewis Dudley really is the best thing about it. Jack Lewis “Bubba” Dudley had a long career in turkey calling and shared some of the most epic events in his life in a book called “The Greatest Moments of My Life". He clearly was a very succinct man.
7 CYA, Just In Case
If you happen to be the traffic department in a neighbourhood where planning is essential due to wave after wave of whining residents when things are a little off schedule, it’s important to cover your bases. This means putting up the necessary signs to let residents know that something may or may not be happening on the roads in the near future. If it does happen, it’s also important to let this crowd know exactly how long the possible event might take place. Brownie points to those who happen to get the job done under the scheduled time frame to curb the whine factor from the locals.
6 Just Plain Boring
Dull and Boring are two sister cities that have the misfortune of foolish naming committees. Perhaps the same folks that decided to name Greenland and Iceland made their way to Oregon and Scotland.
The unfortunate inhabitants of these cities are always faced with visitors who want to know whether their cities really are “Dull” and “Boring".
The naming of these unfortunate destinations does nothing for tourism and definitely attracts unwanted attention and ridicule. But these town names don’t have the sinister origins we all imagine. Boring, for instance, was named after William H. Boring, the founder of what is now a fun and interesting city.
5 Emergency Phone At the Ready… Just Kidding
If you happen to have an emergency along this stretch of road, good luck! It turns out that the nearest emergency phone is 174 km away. Anyone traveling this stretch of road will have to have nerves of steel and perhaps some other way to communicate with the outside world. Those who forgot to stock up on some fuel or perhaps encounter a flat on their spare wheel will need to either wait for someone to pull over for them or start their long trek to safety. According to verywellfit.com, most marathon walkers can complete 10 km in about an hour and a half to two hours. For the rest of the population, however, the prognosis seems a little longer.
4 Poorly Kept Secret
Governments are just full of secrets and don’t usually share to much classified information with their trusting citizens. That is, unless you live in the UK. The sign that points travellers to Brentwood also reveals something a little more creepy: the secret nuclear testing facilities.
Whether this was an error on the planning commission’s side or merely just a joke, the proverbial cat is out of the bag.
If this facility happens to be the real thing, everything the world thinks it knows about British humour might be a lie. From Fawlty Towers to The Office, what the rest of the world considers as great comedy might just be everyday life for the Brits.
3 Keep Our Children Safe… Nuclear Safe
There are so many things wrong with this sign, and the words “warheads” and “children” shouldn’t even be mentioned on the same board. Drivers who take to these roads will drive on the edge of their seats to avoid these unmarked nuclear arms and radiation. Not only would it be a catastrophic event for the driver who makes contact, but also, who wants to be that person responsible for radiation fallout? Best turn around and head back in the other direction, even if it means making a significant detour. In case you happen to encounter one of the Office of Secure Transportation trucks en route to your destination, simply go ahead and mind your own business so as not to attract unwanted attention from the heavily armed and well-trained agent employed as a driver.
2 Control Your Bladder
There are some places in the world that simply contribute to a weak bladder, and this hill seems to be one of them. Avid bikers are keen to test their mettle in the Joseph D. Grant Regional Park, and it’s simply not possible to ride by this sign and not have a chuckle or at least take a photo. This is obviously meant to be a measure to control speed, but either wear and tear or vandalism dropped a few letters from the sign to add some humour to the situation. Unfortunately, the sign was necessitated by some bad roasties caused by falling at high speeds, and for bikers, this is something to avoid at all costs.
1 Go Home Traffic Department, You’re Done
Only drive down this way if you’ve had at least four cups of coffee and an energy drink or two.
These signposts are only designed for the highly efficient multi-tasker who happens to have an extra pair of eyes and excellent cognitive function.
It'll take a few laps around this block to figure out all the rules and regulations pertaining to this street, but the safest bet is to instead carry on and get away as soon as possible, as any number of transgressions could take place at any minute. Those who do decide to take a second look should avoid doing so between Mondays and Fridays from 6 AM to 9 AM. They can’t turn right during these times, and the road happens to be one way, as well…
Sources: theguardian.com, dailymail.co.uk, jalopnik.com