Research from More Than Car Insurance has found that a third of the respondents questioned in a recent study didn't know the meaning of basic road signs such as 'national speed limit' and 'slippery road ahead'.
The research, which questioned 2,000 drivers, revealed that a staggering one in seven of those asked mistook the 'slippery road ahead' sign to mean 'paint in the road', while 34 per cent of drivers didn't know what the national speed limit sign looked like.
> More worryingly, a fifth (20 per cent) of all drivers have received penalty points in the last 10 years as a result of driving too fast – with 13 per cent of those accumulating nine points or more in this time, according to official police figures from 29 forces.
A breath-taking 818,768 drivers were penalised for speeding offences in the past 12 months, according to DVLA official figures– the equivalent of 2,243 a day.
One in every three drivers questioned admitted to always driving over the speed limit in a 30mph zone, on average sitting at speeds of 38mph. A shocking 43 per cent of drivers, which is an estimated 15.6m drivers in the UK, admitted to averaging 81mph in a 70mph zone.
Janet Connor, of More Than Car Insurance, commented: "This research shows that there's a worrying number of drivers for whom speeding is an acceptable everyday behaviour.
"Couple this with shocking ignorance when it comes to the most common road signs, which are designed to help ensure safe and responsible driving, and you've got a recipe for road disaster as well as an increase in the cost of car insurance."
Road safety charities claim that the research suggests we are a nation obsessed with speeding and the results highlight that penalty points are seen as nothing more than the 'lesser of two evils' by many drivers, with 28 per cent of those surveyed confessing they would much rather pick up points and a fine than attend a police speed awareness course to learn about the dangers of speeding.
Gary Rae, senior campaigner for Brake, the road safety charity said: "These are worrying findings. The research suggests a significant proportion of drivers seem to think it is okay to break the laws of the road.
"It can never be acceptable and we urge all drivers to respect road safety laws and recognise that such laws exist to help save lives."
He added: "Speed limits are just that – a limit – not a target to exceed. Brake sees daily the carnage that speeding can cause through our support services for people seriously injured and bereaved."