Theory test practice: road signs and their meanings in the UK

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Theory test practice
What is the theory test?
The Highway Code
Warning signs
Signs giving orders
Direction signs
Information signs
Road work signs
Learner drive insurance

Theory test practice

Let’s be honest, theory test practice is no walk in the park. It means long hours of study after work or school, with a huge amount of information to wade through. Learning all that on top of your practical lessons? It’s exhausting!

Because we were feeling generous, we thought we’d create a little road signs cheat sheet to help you pass your theory test.

Every little helps, after all 🤓

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What is the DVSA theory test?

The DVSA theory test examines your knowledge of all things driving, from the rules of the road to the appearance and meaning of UK road signs. You must pass to become a full licence holder. It doesn’t test your ability to drive - this is assessed in the practical driving test.

After paying £23, head to your local DVSA test centre for two tests: the first is a multiple choice exam on the rules of the road, and the second is a virtual hazard perception test. The current pass mark for the theory test is 43 out of 50. For the hazard perception section of the test, you must score 44 out of 75.

Fun fact: the pass rate for those who took the test during the 2019/2020 period was only 47.7%, which means that over half failed. We’re here to help make sure this doesn’t happen to you 💪

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Check out what the examiner will be looking for. Read more.

The Highway Code

The Highway Code is a guide for all road users (yes, that includes pedestrians!) to read and follow. It explains the rules of the road and is updated regularly.

It should form the basis of your practice for the theory test. You can buy it in shops or read it online.

It's a great resource for your theory test practice, and worth reading through regularly even after you pass so you're aware of all new rules and regulations. 📖

Road signs

Picture this: you’re finally on the road, licence in pocket, wind blowing in your hair… and you don’t quite recognise the exact road sign you’re approaching. It can be a scary moment.

Trying to learn what all of the UK’s road signs look like and mean can be overwhelming. Luckily, we’re here to save you with some clever hacks to help you know what you’re looking at.

All road signs can be easily broken up into five different categories, so we’ll look into how to spot them and what some common examples are.

Warning signs

Warning signs are used to alert drivers to potential danger ahead. They indicate a need for special caution by road users.

They’re usually triangular with a red outline.

Here are a few examples:

Red signs usually indicate some sort of warning

Signs warning you about a dual carriageway ending, a road narrowing or a give way line ahead are all common examples of warning signs.

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Signs giving orders

Signs giving orders do exactly that: give orders! They tell you what to do next.

They’re usually circular and either blue or red:

A general rule of thumb is that a red sign indicates something serious - it could be that you need to stop, give way or are barred from driving in that direction. Blue signs are usually less serious. For example, vehicles may pass on either side.

Here are examples of some red ones:

Stop signs are usually red in the UK

And here are some blue ones:

Blue signs give orders

Direction signs

Direction signs are also pretty self explanatory: they tell you what’s coming up and where to go next.

There are a few types of directional signs.

Blue rectangles are often found on motorways.

Motorway signs in the UK are blue

Green rectangles show primary routes.

The Highway Code explains all of the UK's road signs

Brown rectangles give tourist information or other stop offs.

Brown signs point drivers to cultural sites

Yellow rectangles show a temporary route change.

Yellow signs highlight temporary route changes

Information signs

Information signs tell you everything you need to know about the area you’re in. They give you information on congestion zones, speed limits, parking etc.

They could vary in colour but they are always rectangular.

Here are some examples:

Information signs give information on things like the congestion zone
Information signs give details on things like the congestion zone

Road work signs

Road work signs inform you of any disruptions or changes to routes due to road maintenance. The may indicate loose chippings, or a temporary hazard.

They are either red or yellow and can be rectangular or triangular.

Here are some quick examples:

Road work signs let drivers know about construction work

Learner driver insurance

It’s all well and good learning your road signs - but you still need to get out on the road and put all that theory into practice!

More important than nailing those manoeuvres, however, is making sure you’re insured. Check out Cuvva’s learner drive insurance for getting that practice in, and our full car insurance for when (fingers crossed! 🤞) you pass your test.

Whatever you're after, you can get a quote in just minutes.

Good luck!

Updated on 3rd April 2023