Rare Road Warning Signs in the UK

04th Jun 2021

By Paige Hodgkinson

Have you seen these road warning signs before?

All drivers, learners and experienced, are familiar with the wide variety of road warning signs positioned around the UK highways.

You're almost guaranteed to see signs such as 'give way' or 'no through route' on most journeys, however, there are some signs that are much rarer.

Using data from Highways England, Transport Scotland and Traffic Wales we highlight some of the signs that feature the least across the strategic road network in England, Scotland and Wales; comprising of motorways and major A roads.

Railway level crossing without gate or barrier ahead

Railway Crossing Warning Sign

After analysing the data for England, Scotland and Wales; this sign is the rarest. It is positioned prior to a level crossing, where a railway line crosses a road, and informs drivers there is no gate or barrier present.

On approaching this sign, motorists must stop and give way to trains like they would at a standard road junction.

These particular signs are mainly seen on quieter roads hence why only three can be found on the strategic road network in Wales and there aren't any on the Scottish or English motorways or major A roads.

Wild fowl likely to be in the road ahead

Wild Fowl Warning Sign

This sign warns drivers that there are likely to be wild fowl in the road. Wild fowl includes birds such as ducks, swans and geese that live close to ponds or rivers.

These signs are pretty rare in England and Scotland, with only one on the English major road network and four in Scotland.

Ducks often cross the road, with their ducklings in tow, completely oblivious to oncoming traffic. Therefore, this sign warns drivers to be attentive and slow down in case these birds decide to wander into the road.

Ford Ahead

Ford Warning Sign

No, this warning sign doesn't mean you need to beware of a Ford Focus or Fiesta ahead. It actually means there is shallow water in the road, where vehicles can cross.

You've probably seen this sign at some point on your travels and are aware to exercise caution when you spot this warning.

According to the Oxford dictionary a ford is defined as a shallow place in a river or stream allowing one to walk or drive across Although, you should be careful following heavy rainfall as the water may have risen to a point that is dangerous for some vehicles to tackle.

In Scotland there are just two of these signs positioned on motorways and major A roads, in England there are three.


Tank Warning Sign

It's pretty clear that this road sign has an image of a tank within the warning triangle. This sign informs motorists that slow-moving military vehicles are likely to be in or crossing the road.

Depending on the size of the military vehicle, it may take up more than one lane on the motorway or major A road and it's very unlikely it will be anywhere near the speed limit of 70mph.

There aren't any of the signs on the trunk road network in Scotland, however, there are eight in England.

Wild horses or ponies likely to be in road ahead

Wild Horses Warning Sign

This sign isn't to be confused with the common sign advising drivers of accompanied horses or ponies likely to be in or crossing the road, as it actually denotes wild horses or ponies.

So, basically this sign is warning motorists to be attentive and look out for horses or ponies which may gallop across the road or be grazing at the side of the carriageway.

With eight signs in England, four in Scotland and two in Wales; this sign is still pretty rare across the strategic road network.

Do you know of any other rare or weird road warning signs?

These are just five of the rarest road warning signs across the strategic road network in England, Scotland and Wales based on data provided by Highways England, Transport Scotland and Traffic Wales.

Have you spotted any strange road warning signs in the UK or abroad? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.