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 firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Road signs" in the subject box.
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
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.....