Society - Legal
By: - at May 25, 2013

Top 20 Most Ignored Road Signs & Their Accidents

Stop signs, speed limit signs, turn signals, one-way signs, and more litter the roads and highways for America. The signs are everywhere, and they have a purpose. These traffic signs are there to keep people safe. Unfortunately not everyone obeys these signs, which can lead to many problems on the road. Car crashes, traffic jams, and traffic tickets can generally be avoided if everyone just followed the signs. But these are the least of the worries. Sometimes not obeying the traffic laws results in death. Here are the top 20 most ignored road signs:

20)  It's a Great Place to Turn Around
Dead End SignA dead end street may be a bad thing to some, and a turn-around spot to others. The issue with failing to obey the "dead end" street signs is a motorist will generally end up where they should not and can even get stuck. Sometimes the road simply ends. Sometimes the road is blocked. Sometimes you donít know what's ahead that may be dangerous to you. The dictionary defines these streets as having only one way in and one way out. While does not have a ticket listed for failure to obey this sign, it can be a bad predicament to get into that can cause damage to your car and put your own safety at risk.

Dead End Signs Could Literally Mean Dead End to You!
Dead End Crash

19)  Is That A Blinker Or Are You Happy To See Me?
turn signalBlinkers, turn signals, or direction signalers on cars are not posted signs. They are signals, though, and they either donít get used or are completely ignored. According to the DMV handbook, you must make a turn signal any time you wish to turn or change lanes. Failure to do so can result in a ticket and an increase in your insurance. But failure to use a turn signal is much more serious than a ticket; itís also very dangerous. According to a study done by the Society of Automotive Engineers, failing to use a turn signal results in two times the number of accidents caused by distracted driving. That same study found that drivers donít use turn signals half the time they should. If you fail to use a turn signal and cause a wreck, you will be held liable and it can be listed as a reckless driving offense.

18)  Long Whistle Blowing
train signalSometimes a railroad crossing comes with lights, sounds, and even cameras. There will be blockades and a bid "t-do" to let you know a train could be on the tracks ahead of you. Other times, though, the railroad crossing sign is the only thing you'll see. The site says these should still be obeyed like the lights and blockades, though, because they mean you are to look for an oncoming train. The DMV handbook says if you approach a train track, no matter if it is a posted sign or one with lights, you should stop and look both ways down the track like you would at an intersection. This could save your life. According to USA Today, the number of fatalities by trains has dropped over the years, but it still happens. The article posted said the number of deaths involving trains and motor vehicles has dropped 42% in the last ten years, leaving an average of 248 fatalities a year. The Federal Railroad Administration said that the number one cause of death in the railroad industry is pedestrians and motorists. Roughly 430 pedestrians are killed each year by trains.

Railroad Accidents:
railroad and car accident

damage done by train wreck

17)  Again With the Road Work
road work aheadConstruction signs are out for the protection of people working on roads or other construction along the road. Many states take construction zones seriously and post signs that say tickets given for offenses come with double or even triple the penalty. So, if you get a speeding ticket that would normally be $200 while youíre in a construction area you could look at paying $400 or even $600 instead. These fines can be as much as $1,000 in certain states. The Governor's Highway Safety Association says 33 states and the District of Columbia double the fine for traffic violations in a work zone. Only 24 states and the District of Columbia require workers to be present for the increased penalties to be enforced. Only 10 states do not mandate that signs be posted to alert drivers of the enhanced penalties.

Construction Workers Mourn the Death of Their Fellow Coworkers In DUI Crash:
Construction Worker Accident

16)  I Don't Need No Education
Just like construction zone signs, school zone signs are often ignored, too. These signs generally tell motorists there is a decreased speed while in the zone, to watch for children and pedestrians, and to yield to buses and other school traffic. When these do not get obeyed it can be fatal. According to, the fines for speeding in a school zone run much like the fines for speeding in construction sites. Most states double, and some triple, the fines.

By Bidgee (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5-au], via Wikimedia Commons

It can also be considered reckless driving. A study done by Sake Kids Worldwide in 2009 found that one in six drivers in school zones were distracted and/or speeding. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle going a speed of 40 miles-per-hour is almost always fatal, according to, and for a child that speed could be as low as 30 miles-per-hour. According to Oklahoma state newspaper, NewsOK, in the state of Oklahoma motorist who fail to stop for buses while the red lights are flashing and the stop signs are out could lose their driver's license.

NOTE:  Obviously, the showing of school kids getting ran over would be inappropriate!

15)  You Have To Be This Tall To Ride
Some signs for "low entrances" are ignored to hilarious ends. Sometimes the end result is fatal. If a sign says a vehicle cannot be taller than a certain amount of feet or inches to enter an area, itís best to obey that. The New Jersey Times reported that man was charged with careless driving and obstruction of traffic when he got his 28-foot box truck stuck in a tunnel that that clearly had signs posted stating his truck was too large to fit. The truck had to be cut out of the tunnel.

low clearance

This not only results in tickets for the driver, but tax payer's money being spent to repair the tunnel and pay officers extra money to direct traffic. According to The Telegraph, on top of paying a $2,200 penalty truckers could also lose their registration if they become stuck in a tunnel. And trucks or private vehicles that donít obey these signs are not exempt. Those motorists will also face steep tickets and can even be sued for damage to city infrastructure.

Look what happens when vehicles ignore these Low Clearance Signs:
truck hitting low clearance sign

U Haul Ignoring low clearance sign

School Bus low clearance accident

14)  This Is Unusual
Cars, trucks, and vansÖ oh my! But they aren't the only things that go by on roads. In several areas you may notice a bicycle emblem on a sign. This is to let you know that cyclist hare the road. In other areas you may notice signs for deer. This is to let you know that wildlife is in the area. If youíre in Pennsylvania you may see an increase of horse and buggy pictures, and that's to let you know the Amish share the road with you in horse and buggy style. Not yielding to these "unusual" motorists can have serious effects, some resulting in death.

Daniel Schwen [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

In August of 2012, the KTVO in Canton, Mo. reported that a 42-year-old Amish man, and his horse, were both killed when the driver of a pickup truck failed to yield to the horse. In March 2013 in Cincinnati, a motorcyclist did not heed deer crossing warnings and the WRAL Cincinnati news reported he died after hitting a deer. Bicycling info says that more than 600 cyclists were killed in accidents involving motor vehicles. There are posted signs all around alerting drivers to the increase of cyclists and motorcyclists in the area. Slowing down and keeping an eye out for them can save lives. The motorists aren't the only ones expected to obey these laws, though. Cyclists, motorcyclists, and horse and buggy drivers have their own set of rules they need to follow to safe, as well.

Pay Attention to Horse and Buggy Signs!
amish car accident

truck and buggy accident

Deer Related Accident:
Deer Related Accident

13)  Why Is Everyone Moving To That Lane?
merge signMerge Signs mean to move to the other lane because the lane your on will end. This means if youíre in the right hand lane and that lane is closed in a few miles, you need to merge to the left hand lane when you can. This does not mean wait until the last minute and force your way over. This holds up traffic and can cause wrecks. Another merge sign is generally used for construction areas. This means one lane is temporarily closed, but may open back up some time on down the road and you must merge now to save trouble. According to the DMV handbook, merging into traffic is not only a duty of the driver trying to merge, but also those already in the proper lane. Those already established "should help" the person trying to merge.

12)  HeyÖ There's Supposed to Be a Bridge Here
It's a classic scene in many movies. The driver isnít paying attention, or they're running from someone or something, going maximum speeds on a bridge and then Ö the bridge is gone. Sadly, that doesn't just happen in movies, though. There are times when a bridge may be flooded or iced over and a temporary sign needs to be put out, but motorists donít pay attention to the signs. The August Chronicle in Augusta, Ga., reported that a bridge in the town was so dangerous it could cause motorists to hydroplane and lose control of their vehicles.

detour sign

The bridge was closed for repair but people trying to use caused traffic accidents. According to Transportation California, 62 percent of residents in the state think the government should send more money on fixing roads and bridges in the state. The issue with that, as reported by many places undergoing bridge work, is that traffic becomes a nightmare to detour. Following the bridge out and detour signs ahead of time can help ease the burden of added traffic. Detour signs are often made available ahead of time, as well as detour maps online and in the local newspapers, for people to plan routes accordingly so they can avoid heavy traffic areas during times a bridge will be out.

11)  You Can't Go That Way
one way signIt's pretty simple, really. A "one-way" sign with an arrow pointing in the direction in which you are allowed to go means youíre only allowed to go that is way. So, (according to the federal highway public records) the fact that more than 350 people are killed each year for either disobeying this law, or encountering another motorist who is, can be shocking. Yes, you can get a fine for this. says in most states it's by discretion of the officer, but will generally not exceed $500.

Or this will happen!

By Damnsoft 09 via Wikimedia Commons

10)  Hold Your Horses
yield signThe yield sign isn't a suggestion. It's a sign that must be obeyed for the safety of all persons on the road. The yield sign means you slow down or completely stop for the person or vehicle that has the right-of-way. You donít try to outrun them or force your way ahead. They have the right-of-way, meaning they go first and if you don't allow them to do so you can get a ticket. This ticket can be as much as $500. According to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, many drivers (especially those 80 years old and older) fail to see the other vehicle they should be yielding to. That same study showed that younger drivers misjudge whether they have time to proceed ahead of the other vehicle. This results in failure to yield being one of the 10 deadliest mistakes a driver can make.

9)  Hey! I'm Walking Here!
cross walk sign pedestrian crossingCross-walk signs donít just protect pedestrians from cars, but also motorists from going to jail for striking a pedestrian. Many people still ignore crosswalk signs, though, and that may be because they don't understand what the signs mean. According to, these cross-walk signs warn drivers that there is a crosswalk ahead and to watch for pedestrians that may be crossing. This also means that the pedestrian has the right-of-way, so the driver must yield to the pedestrian. Another version of the crosswalk sign is the crosswalk symbol. This helps pedestrians know when to cross the street. Crossing the street without the go-ahead from this mechanical sign can result in a "jay-walking" ticket for the pedestrian, at best, and at worse the pedestrian could be struck by a vehicle. According to Legal, if a pedestrian jay-walks and is hit by a car, the jay-walking offense could cancel out any means of a lawsuit the pedestrian had against the motorist because jay-walking can be "contributory negligence."

crosswalk accident

8)  Sorry, This Spot Is Reserved
handicapped parking only signHandicapped parking is a sign that is too often ignored. Handicapped spots are reserved for people with disabilities that post a "handicap driver" sticker in the windshield of their car, or have a license plate that specifies the driver is impaired. When people without handicap stickers take these spots, it leaves people with the sticker scrambling to find a spot farther away from the store or business they are trying to visit. According to Texas state law, even if you do have a legitimate handicap tag, you must display it at all times. Failure to do so can result in a ticket, and they come with a fine of up to $500. The issue of parking in these spaces is becoming so out of hand that has created an iPhone app to help report people violating the law.

7)  Don't Trash This Place
In the 1980s a huge campaign was started to end litter in the nation. It didnít work. In fact, litter is just as bad as it was then, but the penalties are much steeper. While "donít litter" signs are everywhere, they are especially prevalent in highways, where the most litter is found. According to Keep America Beautiful, more people throw litter and trash out on the side of the road from a moving vehicle than they throw it on the ground. The reason behind this, the organization says, is because they do not have a readily available trash can.

no littering

The Department of Transportation in Pennsylvania said if a motorist is caught littering from a vehicle while in the state, they can be fined up to $300. This can even include a simple gum wrapper being dropped on the side of the road. According to No More Trash online, 33 percent of the litter found on the road is from fast food wrappers. The main offenders are between 16-24 years of age and drive more than 2 hours a day.

6)  Stop! In The Name of the Law
stop signYou would think that stop signs wouldn't be ignored. They are clearly there for safety, but people get tickets at an alarming rate for failing to stop at a clearly posted stop sign. Since 2007, more than 70,000 motorists in Los Angeles have been ticketed via a stop sign camera that took a picture of the license plates of people who did not fully stop when leaving a mountain recreation area, read an article in the LA Times. According to, most of these tickets issued cannot be more than $500, and some states allow the ticketing officer to decide what the penalty should be based on the nature of the offense. In almost all states this offense does go on your driving record and can affect your insurance rates. These fines include not coming to a full stop and just yielding at the stop sign.

Obey Stop Signs!
Obey Stop Signs

5)  Maybe I Can Run It
yellow traffic lightPeople have tried it for years, but out-running a yellow or "caution" light just isn't in the cards for everyone. What's more is if the light turns red before you successfully cross it, you have now ran a red light and can get a ticket. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, running a red light is the leading cause of urban crashes. The Red Light Safety Program says that in 2005, 165,000 injuries and more than 800 fatalities were attributed to a motorist running a red light. That is estimated to cost the public $14 billion each year. More people are injured in this type of crash than any other.

Maybe Not!
yellow light accident

4)  Stop Right There, Partner
If you've ever tried to make a sharp turn and almost clipped the front end of someone's car because the nose of the car is over the white line, you've experienced this.

By Steve Morgan (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

The "Stop Here on Red" signs are needed to help other motorists make turns safely, but they get ignored every day. If youíre trying to turn right and cross the limit line posted by the sign, you can pull forward a bit unless there is a "no right turn on red" sign. According to, a sign that cannot be properly seen, or a person turning right where allowed, should not be ticketed for crossing this limit line. However, if the motorist can see the sign, is not turning right, or is prohibited from turning right, that motorist can get a ticket. According to Road, this is a regulatory sign, which means if you fail to follow it and cause a wreck, you will be held liable, even if another car hits your car as they are trying to turn.

3)  Turn Around Ö Just Not Here
The "No U-Turn" signal is another ignored traffic sign. This basically means you can't turn around in the middle of the road where you were thinking of doing so. Most of these are posted at intersection with traffic lights, but they get ignored often, despite being so obvious to see. According to FairFax Underground, the fine for failure to obey this sign can be $90 or more, depending on the particular circumstance.

no uturn sign

If disobeying the sign causes a wreck, it's not bumped up to reckless or careless driving, which can come with jail time. A sign doesn't have to be posted for a motorist to get a ticket for illegal u-turn, though. According to Washington State Traffic Laws, an illegal u-turn is when a driver turns a vehicle in the opposite direction of which they are driving when the movement cannot be made safely and without interfering with traffic. It also includes when a motorist proceeds in the opposite direction on any curve if the vehicle cannot be seen by the driver of another vehicle approaching from either direction within 500 feet.

2)  Buckle Up, It's For Your Own Good
buckle up its the law and whats rightDespite the fact that it's now known that not wearing a seat belt can kill you, many people still donít buckle up. Seat belt laws are found in every single state, except New Hampshire for adults, and the District of Columbia and there are signs posted along roadways to let motorist know of fines. If the threat of fines aren't enough, most people have cars that are now equipped to make an annoying beeping sound until the driver (and sometimes passenger) buckles their seat belt. According to MSN Autos, not wearing a seat belt is one of the deadliest things a motorist can do. The site says "33 per cent of people who die in vehicle fatalities failed to buckle up." The Governor's Highway Safety Association says seat belt laws are divided into primary and secondary offenses. Primary offenses allow for an officer to ticket a driver for not wearing a seat belt, but a secondary only allows it if the officer stopped the driver for other reasons and then noticed the driver was not buckled. Different states have different levels of offense, and that means the fines will be different by state and sometimes even by city.

1)  I Can't Drive 55!
speed limit signThe most ignored traffic sign has to be the speed limit signs. According to Forbes Magazine, more than 34 million speeding tickets are issued each year in the U.S. That's roughly 65 tickets issued per minute. These generated more than $5 billion in revenue for local government agencies, and the average fine is $150. Some states, however, have heftier fines. For instance, according to, speeding tickets in Virginia can be considered a "reckless driving" ticket, wish is doubled the fine. One ticket for going just 10 miles over the speed limit can cost a motorist $300, time in jail, or community service. But government agencies donít just profit. Auto insurance companies also get a cut of the action. If a motorist is used a speeding ticket, their insurance does go up. Every insurance company is different on how much the insurance premium is raised, but almost all have a policy that if a motorist is ticketed for speeding that motorist will pay a higher insurance rate. And the issue isn't just how much money someone will pay. According to MSN Autos, speeding is the 10th deadliest thing a motorist can do on the road.

Follow speed limit signs to prevent accidents!

By Azreey via Wikimedia Commons

By W. Robert Howell from Charlotte, NC [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Final Words
From the obvious to the not so clear, traffic signs are everywhere and they are meant to be obeyed. Failing to do so can result in the loss of your license and tickets, as well as raised insurance premiums. It can also result in injury and death to yourself and to those around you. With many people (and sometimes animals) sharing the road these days, traffic signs are put in place to help get everyone to their intended destinations safely. Following the signs can do just that.





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