Learn about the Give Way road sign.


Approximately 2 minutes reading time

What does the Give Way road sign mean?

Give way signs are an order which tells drivers to essentially slow down and watch the road for other drivers. Giving way is allowing another driver to drive past you. 

What does the sign mean?

This is a common sign in the UK which means to give up your right of way. If you are approaching this sign while on a dual carriageway, there is an expectation that drivers will yield to traffic on the other carriageway. The give way sign shows that the way ahead gives way to drivers in the other direction. When you are driving on a multi-lane road, drivers approaching from the right have right of way and must give way to drivers coming from the opposite direction. The give way sign can also be seen on roundabouts where a driver will have no choice but to either give way or stop.

How common is this sign?

The give way sign is used in the UK and is often erected on new roads to discourage drivers from using the road illegally. The message that motorists receive is clear: if you ignore this sign, you will be penalized on the motorway and in traffic courts. The give way sign has been successfully used worldwide to inform drivers of their legal obligations when driving on controlled-access roads.

Where are you likely to see the "give way" sign?

The give way sign is often erected by traffic authorities, but it can also be found on the side of buildings and bridges. It can also be found in:

  • Roundabouts: The give way sign can also be seen on roundabouts where a driver will have no choice but to either give way or stop.
  • Multi-lane roads: The give way sign is used in the UK and is often erected on new roads to discourage drivers from using the road illegally. The message that motorists receive is clear: if you ignore this sign, you will be penalized on the motorway and in traffic courts.
  • Approaching a non-signalized junction
  • Driving instructors also use this sign when driving learners through traffic
  • It is also found in parking spaces, the vicinity of pedestrians crossing at level crossings and alongside cycle tracks. 

When did this sign first come into action?

The give way sign can be traced back in history to the 1900s. It was used in Germany during the 1930s and perhaps earlier in other countries. The introduction of the give way sign became an official policy of many countries in the Middle East, South America and Africa. For example, the Saudi Arabian General Directorate of Traffic signs issued a circular to all traffic departments, outlining regulations on the use of this sign back in 1984 after people used this sign without rules or guidelines. Almost all countries including the UK now have officially adopted the give way sign, and use it on a regular basis.

Conclusion

Give way is a common sign in the UK and used as an encouragement and deterrent to give way. . You will be able to see plenty of examples of the give way sign in use on roads around the world. It is also a good idea to make sure you understand what it means, even if it isn't used in your country. The give way sign has evolved into a universal sign that advises drivers of their legal rights regarding controlled-access roads.

It is a good idea to read the traffic signs and have an understanding of what they are telling you. There are many dangers on roads and if you don't know what these signs mean, then you could be in trouble with the law.


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