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Guide to European road signs
Lots of you are probably off driving in Europe this summer. Our little continent is full of great places to visit, and we reckon travelling in the comfort of your own car is by far the best way to see the best of Europe. Whether it’s the French Riviera, the Spanish coast or the German autobahn, there’s so much on offer, and let’s be honest, cruising at your leisure in your motor is a lot more fun than cramming into a budget airline at 3am.
Driving abroad does require careful planning, however. We recently pointed out some of the key laws you need to be aware of (see here), but with the summer holidays now in full swing, we thought we’d give you an extra little helping hand by translating a few key road signs you’re likely to come across in Europe’s top destinations. We warn you…some of them sound a little odd!
The French have some rather alluring ways of expressing simple road commands. Well, it is the language of love, after all…
Allumez vos feux.
Often found before the entrance to a tunnel, this literally translates as the rather romantic sounding ‘Light your fires’. It actually means switch the headlights on.
Cédez le passage
Cease passage, good sir! Another rather traditional sounding one, this actually means ‘Give way.’
Pour votre sécurité, contrôles automatiques
The idea of automatic security control sounds rather reassuring. But don’t be fooled, this phrase, often found on motorways, actually means there are speed cameras coming up.
A rather fierce sounding language at times, so you’d better make sure you obey the rules!
‘Halt! Vorfahrt gewähren’
This is actually a rather long-winded way of simple saying…STOP! (The full translation is ‘Stop! Give way’)
This mouthful means do not overtake, or ‘no passing.’ Can be a tricky one to adhere to with those flexible autobahn speed limits!
Another tricky one to get your tongue around, this word means you should be on the look out for pedestrians. It sometimes also appears as the wonderful ‘Zebrastreifen’ or ‘zebra stripes’ – we think we prefer this one!
Sometimes, everything in Spanish just sounds like you’re at a fiesta. Sadly, some of these phrases are a little more boring!
Just as much as a mouthful as the German, but doesn’t it sound more fun? Like ‘Überholverbot’, this means do not overtake.
Not to be confused with the popular cold Spanish soup, this word means slow down – take it at a Spanish pace!
We quite often find that Spanish towns are in a permanent state of renewal, so this is one that may become a little too familiar – ‘road closed’!