« Previous | Main | Next »


Post categories:

Carrie Carrie | 16:16 UK time, Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I had a puncture. Well actually I didn't have a puncture, I had a puncture in my car's tyre. This is the 5th puncture I've had in the last 18 months and it's not funny! Now, I know how to change a wheel, but the trouble is, the nuts holding the wheel on are usually so tight that I can't shift them and so I end up having to call out a motoring organisation to help. And that means sitting by the side of the road for an hour or more waiting for someone to come and help.

However, I wouldn't be without my car - I need it to get me from A to B and more importantly, to carry all my stuff around. My friends laugh when I open the boot of my car - inside you'll find wellies, chairs, bottles of water, socks (clean and dirty), a washing-up bowl, a riding hat, empty crisp packets...and so on. In fact, yesterday, to get the spare tyre out I had to move everything from the boot on to the back seat - how embarrassing....look.....

Anyway, all of this reminded me that a few months ago I was out driving, when I came across a very strange road sign. I leapt out of the car with my camera and took a photo for a future blog. Then, for the rest of the day, I stopped every time I saw a sign and took a snap. So, it's time for a quick quiz. Do you know what each sign means? The answers are at the end, so no cheating!
I've had a driver's license since I was 17, but I don't think I've ever come across the last sign before. Paul says he's never seen it either!

You probably know that in the UK we drive on the left. I found it very strange driving in France a few years ago - giving way to traffic from the left on a roundabout for example. You'll have seen from the signs that we still measure distances in miles and not kms. You might also think that some of the signs look quite old fashioned? Well here's a BBC interview with the lady who designed some of the signs - Margaret Calvert. And do you know that most road signs have rounded corners - this is partly because they look nicer, partly because the rain doesn't corrode rounded edges as easily as sharp corners and partly to stop people getting hurt if they bump in to them (looking at picture 2, it looks as someone has taken a bite out of the sign!). If you want to find out more about British road signs you can look here

What do road signs look like on your roads? Do you have any strange ones? You can send me your photos to learningenglish@bbc.co.uk and put "Road signs" in the subject box.

Take care


PS: Here are the answers
1. Frail pedestrians crossing the road - e.g. elderly or disabled people
2. Pedestrians in the road for the distance shown (because there is no pavement)
3. Children going to or from school
4. Accompanied (i.e. being ridden or led) likely to be in or crossing the road
5. Migratory toad crossing!!!!

puncture: a small hole in a car tyre that has been made by a sharp object
shift: move
motoring organisation: an organisation that provides its members with breakdown assistance, insurance, travel information etc.
stuff: someone's belongings
boot: the storage space (usually) at the back of a car - called a "trunk" in American English
driver's licence: a permit to drive - you have to take a written and practical test before you can get a full driver's licence
to give way: to slow down or stop to allow other traffic to pass in front of you
roundabout: a circular traffic junction that controls the flow of traffic at a place where several roads meet
pavement: a path with a hard surface by the side of a road (not to be confused with American English, where the pavement is the surface of the road and people walk on a sidewalk!)

PPS: Please don't make me take a photo of Paul in his wetsuit.....


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Carrie, hope you are ok!

    Actually,road signs are so important as we could know where to go and when and they give us alarm to something sometimes.

    However, the driving in UK are different from other countries, but the signs problably would be the same or only a little bit different.

    At any rate, it is obvious that road signs are significant and vital and we all as drivers should be attention to reach our destination safely.

    Thanks Carrie,

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Carrie
    Two years ago I got driving license but I have no car as yet. I suppose my car will look similar yours on the photograph. I mean it will full of different things be course my wife love put hand all she need on in every moment. We take away half a home things with us when we are traveling. There is all kind of things in a suitcase like teapot, pillow, smoothing-iron etcetera.
    To say honestly, I’m afraid to drive a car. Russian roads are very dangerous. Many Russian drivers often do not observe the driving regulations and they are rude.
    Best regards

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Carrie! Actually, last week I did let to wash my car first time since I´ve bought it in August 09. Surprisingly, the boy told me it wasn´t as dirty as others after just one week. So, the grey colour was not as bad option in this relation. Now, I too pretty hate dragging things out especially when it come to the change of tyres twice a year. It´s absolutely heavy to put them in and again into a celar and the same with all the stuff. You can guess I wouldn´t be able to change it at puncturing. But, I have suffered more times those unpleasant events by accidents which damaged the car with or without me in. The 5th punture in only 18 month would be too much on me to stay calm... Sincerely

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Diaa - you're right about road signs - I get very frustrated when I'm driving somewhere and there aren't enough signs to the place I want to get to!

    Victor - there is an idiom in English: "I'm taking everything but the kitchen sink" - meaning "I'm taking almost everything I own"!

    bbllmm - I'm not very good at washing my car either. However, my local supermarket has a service where someone washes your car while you are doing the shopping - it's very convenient. The trouble is, the inside of my car is still messy!

  • Comment number 5.

    Thank you, Carrie. Perhaps this phrase will be frequently usable in our family:)

  • Comment number 6.

    Greetings all
    We always smile in our family when we are trying to imitata the English persone who we asked to help us when we had a puncture in our car during our trip to England."I presume you are foreigner Sir" he said in so British intonation.Needless to say he heled us willingly.
    I would like to say that I don't like the work of lady Margaret Calvert.She adopts an stereotypic approach : a female wears skirt and male wears trousers,the male is higer and leads the lower female.I expect more creativity and openess. I beleive road signs reflect too our social perception.
    Carrie please what do you mean by "wellies"?
    May I ask you what would you do in case you have passangers in the rear seat? Would you put all the stuff back to the boot or may be it is easyier to...
    All the best

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi dear Carrie
    5 puncture in 18month is too much :0 , I think it 's better to change your car tyres ( just a suggestion ) . You are brave to show your car boot , objects . Always I ask my hubby to put such a thing in the boot so they will come handy specailly in camping days but he don't like the idea and now I know one of reasons ;-)
    your lucky that you can have your car clean when you are shopping !
    happy to hear from you and I 'm waiting to your next Blog

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Danny: wellies are "Wellington boots" - long rubber boots that you wear when you have to walk through mud, or, in my case, when I go horse riding.
    And having all that junk on the backseat is a good excuse not to offer a lift to anyone ;-) Seriously, the repair shop was closed at the weekend and so I had to move all the stuff off the backseat and into the boot. Of course that means I'll have to move it all back again and then back AGAIN!

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Carrie,
    I've been very busy lately. No time left to browse this wonderful web page :-(
    I always enjoy your blogs so much that everytime I read them I have a grin on my face :-)
    I also can't change the wheel of a car when it has a puncture. In fact, I don't have the strenght to do it! Touch wood, it's been a while since I last experienced it. Here we sign a contract with the Insurance Company and they provide assistance in case of any type of problem regarding your car. But we also have to wait 1 or 2 hours.
    My goodness Carrie! You really full your car with too much stuff :-D
    Oh, this made me laugh a lot.
    By the way, I agree that you have very strange road signs. Here we have the most common ones. I got my driving license when I was 25. I love driving but I hate doing it along roads. I prefer driving along streets and avenues. I consider myself a very good and caring driver, in spite of the fact that I'm a woman HA HA HA!!!!!
    Have a good week.
    Take care,
    Cristina (from BA - Argentina)

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Carrie,

    I'm been working here in Saudi Arabia as an expat for three years now. Vehicular accident in this country is very high and cosidered one of highest in the world. Around 15 vehicluar accident happen in every hour based on local study. Primary reason is that most of the drivers is neglecting traffic signs and regulations either due to lack of discipline or there's no strict implementation at all by traffic police. Most of the victims of accident were minors. You will be suprised to see fifteen years old or younger driving GMC or Ford along the highway without being caught. Well, you can not blame the parents to teach their kids to drive even at younger age because hiring a personal driver to bring kids to school and wife to shopping mall would be costly to average Saudi. Sad to say, women here are not being allowed to drive a car. If a family can't afford to hire a driver either a husband or older son could do the job.



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.