- Almost two thirds (61 per cent) of drivers aged 17 – 25 understand emoji road signs better than the real world equivalents
- Drivers had difficulty correctly identifying real road signs for zebra crossings, ring roads, no bicycles and steep hills – but had no such problems comprehending their emoji equivalents
- Over a third (37 per cent) of young drivers would welcome emoji road signs on Britain’s highways and byways
- 27 per cent of young drivers thought the sign for a ring road meant ‘carbon neutral’ road
Almost two thirds (61 per cent) of 17-25-year-old motorists can understand emoji road signs better than real road signs, according to a recent survey.
As part of the research, 12 real road signs were selected and emoji equivalents of those signs were designed. Young motorists were then asked to correctly identify the meanings of both the authentic signs and the mock emoji symbols.
For seven of the 12 (58 per cent) signs, the emojis were better understood by young motorists than the real life road signs, with comprehension for the emojis most pronounced for signs depicting zebra crossings, ring roads, no bicycles and steep hills.
Of all young drivers polled, 68 per cent were unable to correctly identify the real road sign depicting a pedestrian crossing. Additionally, 80 per cent could not place the sign for ‘no vehicles’, 60 per cent answered incorrectly when asked what the sign for a ring road was, and three quarters (75 per cent) incorrectly identified the meaning for the ‘no bicycles’ road sign.
Perhaps even more concerning is what some young drivers thought real road signs actually meant. More than a quarter (27 per cent) thought that the authentic road sign depicting a ‘ring road’ meant ‘carbon neutral road’. A quarter (25 per cent) also believed the real sign for ‘no vehicles carrying explosives’ was a warning of spontaneously combusting traffic.
Fortunately, the majority of young drivers (63 per cent) see no place for emojis on Britain’s road signs, believing they are too frivolous for such an important role (85 per cent), could be confusing for older drivers (49 per cent) and would actually encourage use of mobile phones (33 per cent) behind the wheel.
The research was conducted by MORE TH>N SM>RT WHEELS car Insurance. Kenny Leitch for MORE TH>N said: “Emojis have changed the way the younger generation converses, so it’s understandable they can comprehend these symbols with ease. However, emojis have no place on our roads. Although, thankfully, there is little prospect of official road signs ever becoming like emojis, we still find ourselves in a situation where a significant number of young drivers do not understand the meaning of authentic road signs.
“This research shows that young drivers would benefit from improving their practical driving experience and knowledge before taking their driving test. As it stands you can pass your test without ever having driven at night or in poor weather conditions and seemingly without remembering even commonplace road signs. Young and inexperienced drivers would also benefit from telematics in their car as it focuses their mind on every mile of every journey, promotes greater knowledge of the roads and encourages and rewards them for being safer drivers.”