New research shows that for many drivers the Highway Code might as well be morse code because they aren’t familiar with it and often don’t understand it.

A study from motor oil company Castrol demonstrates that British motorists have such poor knowledge of the Highway Code that two thirds are totally confused by even basic road signs.

One in three drivers admit they get so confused they simply follow the car in front when they are not sure what to do. While of those that do understand road signs, more than half choose to ignore them and make up their own rules.

These statistics certainly provide cause for concern to me, and I’m sure to many other road users. Road signs are there for a reason and ignoring or not understanding them equates to increased road risk. It’s frightening that there are people out there, often with many years of driving experience, who don’t know when they should stop, give way, divert or slow down.

Whether the issue is disobedience or a lack of understanding will vary from driver to driver and the research that I mentioned suggests that it’s a bit of both. The first group should be ashamed of themselves, for the second group, education is the order of the day.

The Highway Code is a fairly simple document and there’s nothing mystical about it. However, the reality for most drivers is that they haven’t looked at it since they passed their test.

For me, and for many others, that test was quite a long time ago and while we forget things and pick up bad habits we are not asked to refresh this knowledge.

That’s why many companies put their drivers through training courses both in a classroom and on the roads.

Our experience shows that some employees will embrace this training, while others resist or resent it; but on this evidence training is a fully justified approach to take.