The creation of safe and legible road signs is an art, but the 10 traffic guideposts below demonstrate not all sign makers are Michelangelo.
Whether because of confusing symbols, contradictory instructions or an excess of information, these signs obfuscate more than help the driver.
Most of these signs are the creation of local and state governments that seem to lack the time or sophistication to make clear ones.
Although these are the 10 most confusing traffic signs I could find, feel free to add photos and descriptions of awful signs you've found in your own travels.
Official Meaning of Sign: There is a traffic circle up ahead.
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: OMG, circles are awesome and everywhere. Let's do a circle right now!
Where it's Located: Allaire Circle on Route 34, New Jersey
9. You Should Probably Just Turn Off The Car And Walk
Official Meaning of Sign: Drivers in the left lane can only make a sharp left; drivers in the
lane second from the left turn either a secondmost sharp or a slightly less sharp left; drivers in the center lane make a fourthmost sharp left; drivers in the right-of-center lane turn the fifth most sharp left or go straight; drivers in the far right lane go straight or right.
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: Just follow along with the general pattern of traffic and hope you don't die.
Where it's Located: San Francisco, California
8. Yield To Bikes
Official Meaning of Sign: Yield to bikes when approaching the new lane.
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: Yield to people doing wheelies, backwards, into traffic.
Where it's Located: Seattle, Washington
7. Stop Don't Stop
Official Meaning of Sign: Stop and then, as you proceed, do not stop. If you are a commercial vehicle you can actually stop, though it says you can't, on the right side for 30 minutes.
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: Just slowly roll through, trying to load or unload for no longer than 30 minutes.
Where it's Located: Fresno, California
6. Define "Very Light"
Official Meaning of Sign: You can only turn left if there isn't much traffic on a street called "Aviation."
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: As this photo is near the airport, if you don't know "Aviation St." is a thoroughfare, the sign means "look up to see how many planes are landing or taking off before attempting a left." If you know "Aviation" is a road try explaining to the police officer what your definition of "very light" is.
Where it's Located: Los Angeles, California
5. The Michigan Left
Official Meaning of Sign: Take a Michigan Left by going down the street and then making a U-turn to go left.
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: As opposed to the typical Michigan Left Sign, this one seems to indicate that the State of Michigan is trying to trick you into not taking the obvious left turn in front of you.
Where it's Located: Marquette, Michigan
4. Take A Right At Montreal
Official Meaning of Sign: Go straight for Montreal Avenue, the other direction for Montreal Way and take a left for Montreal Circle.
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: People in St. Paul, Minnesota are not exceptionally creative.
Where it's Located: St. Paul, Minnesota
3. So That's How You Merge
Official Meaning of Sign: Merge from the left lane to the center lane or turn left.
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: The government of Dekalb doesn't think its citizens understand how a merge works and require overly complex drawings to explain very common driving situations.
Where it's Located: Dekalb, Illinois
2. All Other Times
Official Meaning of Sign: The right three lanes are open during rush hour, the right line is only open from 3:30 pm to 9:30 pm except for that period between 6:30 in the morning and 9:30 at night. The right two lanes are open from 9:30 pm to 6:30 am. The far left lane is lava (we think).
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: City planners in the District of Columbia either do not understand the difference between am and pm or it's up to drivers to guess which lanes are open when. The far left lane is lava (yeah, we're sticking to this).
Where it's Located: Washington, D.C.
1. Driving A Truck With Higher Than A 10,000 lb. GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) Is Not Fun
Official Meaning of Sign: Trucks over 10,000 pounds are not permitted to turn around — maybe?
Unofficial Meaning of Sign to Us: Big trucks are not allowed to drive on their roofs. Big trucks are not allowed to flip over. Everyone else is either allowed to drive on their roofs or flip
Where it's Located: Seattle, WA