Guest Expressed: “5 Ridiculous Road Sign Errors”

Today’s guest is Francesca, who takes us on a journey through odd mistakes on road signs. Enter Francesca:

Everyone loves a good mistake. From misinformation communicated by television presenters, utterly untrue stories printed by the tabloids, and spelling mistakes combined with punctuation errors to make even the smartest professors look stupid, we love to heckle, and heckle we do.

We’re subjected to this kind of brainless overlook now and again; some of it small and grin-worthy, the rest bigger and extremely entertaining. However mistakes involving road signs, an integral part of our everyday lives, seem to be appearing faster than the Jersey Shore autobiographies.

Road signs are notorious for spelling mistakes, and the people behind them are none the wiser unless there’s a complaint from an extremely bored motorist, or a media official raring to gloat. The importance of road signs is rarely underestimated, with new signage created every day to make sure drivers’ safety is paramount.

But sometimes these signs go wrong, and we’re not just talking a missing letter.

The Contenders

Swansea Council made a simple request to its translation team to create a dual language road sign, which read, “No entry for heavy goods vehicles – Residential site only.” However, with no one in the office at the time, an automatically generated “out of office” Welsh-reading reply was sent back to councils officials, who assumed it was the translation. Unaware of the actual translation, the council went ahead with the print, so that the Welsh part of the sign actually read “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any works to be translated”, leaving the lorry drivers more confused than Lady Gaga’s stylist!

There are plenty more examples of slip ups on road signs. Workmen who painted a “Keep Clear” message onto a road in Essex, obviously had spatial awareness issues as they didn’t leave enough room to actually finish the sign. We’ll all make sure we “Keep Clea” of that road!

One of the most ridiculous gaffes came from B3159 country road just outside Dorchester. It’s concise, clear, and free from spelling mistakes. Unfortunately, the sign is actually meant to read “Old Bullock Road” – this spelling mistake gives it a completely different meaning altogether!

Stay Klam

So what more can we pull out of the signage gaffe bag? We’ve had the Welsh council not being able to read their own language, lazy builders with seemingly faulty measuring tapes, and signs that don’t make sense. Let’s klear the rest up!

A road sign outside a fire station in West Sussex was subjected to the upmost grammatical torture, as blundering contractors were made to paint over a sign informing drivers of gas works, reading “Keep Klear”. To make things worse, the fire station was informed through Facebook by a disgruntled passer-by!

And finally, do you, don’t you? Apostrophes can be confusing to say the least, especially if you skipped a couple of English classes like the creators of this sign.  But drivers with a keen eye for grammar have been left fuming with the incompetence Hartlepool council after this bewildering message informing drivers of the availability of a parking bay. Who’s sign is it anyway?

This article was written by Francesca on behalf of The IS Group, who always make sure that the signs they produce are free from spelling mistakes!

Guest Expressed: “Amusing Road Signs”

Today John Audrey Jones will walk us through some chuckle-worthy road signs. Enter John:

You wouldn’t ordinarily expect road signs to be amusing, but they do exist, and bizarrely sum up the human race – no matter where you are in the world! Here are just a few of the amusing road signs we have found.

Only in America
Pennsylvania in the USA has some peculiar names for their roads such as “Bear Bottom Drive,” and “Cow Shit Lane”. But things don’t get much better elsewhere around the country with “Crazy Woman Creek,” in Wyoming and “Unexpected Road,” in Virginia. Perhaps it was named by a map maker who didn’t know it was there.

If you need a crazy woman, try this road!

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Or how about in Oregon where you will find a road called “Shedd Cemetery Drive”, which has another road sign underneath telling road users “DEAD END.” At least in Oregon you know where you stand, unlike in Canada when you come to the cross roads every man experiences in his life and you have to decide which route to take: “Bangher” or “Leever.”

Even Porsche got on the bandwagon with this “Bangher Drive” and “Leever Street” play on words advert.

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You don’t need to be educated to write road signs
You would think that if the local councils are going to take the time and expense to put up road signs with the money they have plundered in taxes, they would at least take some pride and care to get it right. But it would seem that road sign writers and decision makers in councils are not that bright. Take the road sign in Essex, England for example that reads:

Kelvedon Hatch Industrial Estate
Secret Nuclear Bunker

Not so secret anymore. The Essex public got their own back however by printing graffiti on a NO ENTRY sign that read: “ARSE,” which if you think about it is a double entendre.

When it comes to bad spelling though you can’t beat the road sign writers in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA who warn drivers there is a “SHCOOL” ahead – obviously one they didn’t attend! Not quite as bad but confusing if you can speak Welsh was a bilingual road sign between Penarth and Cardiff that read: “Cyclists Dismount” and “llid y bledren dymchwelyd” which literally means “upset bladder inflammation.” If cyclists did have an inflamed bladder I don’t think they would need a road sign to tell them to get off their bike.

When road signs are unnecessary
Some road signs point out the obvious like the one in California that says: “State Prison Next Exit. Do not pick up hitchhikers,” or how about: “Caution. Water on road during rain.” But the stating the obvious award has to go to the writers of a road sign in Swamopmund, Namibia which is surrounded by desert, yet they still felt the need to caution drivers in the area: “! SAND.” Don’t worry though, the little grains don’t bite, just aggravates in between your toes.

Not all road signs state the obvious, but some are just as pointless. In Sea Lion Island, part of the Falkland Islands in the Atlantic Ocean for example is a sign that reads: “Slow. Minefield.” I’m confused, how would driving slowly help? You won’t have the same confusion in Midtown, New York however who get straight to the point with “Don’t even think about parking here!” Like there would be any free space anyway.

Still, if you think travelling by road is scary you should thank your lucky stars you are not traveling by rail from London Gatwick airport where the best service they have to offer is: “For a more efficient service please alight at the next stop where a team of heavily drugged sloths will drag you to your next destination.” To be fair, I think it might have been stuck to the window by a disgruntled customer.