Some parts of Taiwan that I would like to see are easier to cover by car, so I am seriously considering renting a car for part of my stay there. I've never driving in a place where the signs are not written with latin characters, so I Googled Taiwan road signs. This gave me an easy one to guess, but also some that I have no clue about. I can see that road names appear to be written with latin characters.

Are there many different signs that are unintelligible to people who can only recognize latin letters?

  • 1
    From the shapes, it looks like you've linked to stop, checkpoint, and yield signs. Are these not used in your country? – choster Jan 19 '17 at 1:25
  • The stop was easy to guess. We do not have checkpoint signs, so this is a new one, nor have I ever noticed one elsewhere. Yield we have too but I was not sure it is the same. Even in Europe, some signs are baffling for Canadians. – Itai Jan 19 '17 at 1:37
  • FWIW, there is a document, the Vienna Convention on Road Signs, which attempts to set international standards for road signs. It is up to each country to choose which among these to adopt and enforce, however. Wikipedia has a useful comparison of European road signs and a comparison of MUTCD-influenced road signs, the latter mostly in the Americas and the Pacific. – choster Jan 19 '17 at 3:24
  • @choster That's a very good resource! There are plenty of signs there that I have never seen. Worse though are a few completely non-intuitive ones, such as Give way to oncoming traffic, priority road (no idea what it even means). In Canada or Ecuador (where I live now), we have none of these, not even the no-parking and no-stopping signs shown. – Itai Jan 19 '17 at 4:05
  • 6
    How is this opinion-based? Does understanding Taiwanese road signs involve recognizing the Chinese characters, or can one do it from knowledge of the shapes and other graphic elements? Seems like a pretty straightforward "yes" or "no" question, to me. – David Richerby Jan 19 '17 at 8:30

Taiwan uses the same road traffic signs, as are used in most Asian, European and African countries. You can find plenty of lists, examples and explanations of these on the internet. The meaning of a traffic sign must be obvious without knowing the local language. Any text on the sign should only provide additional details, which are not necessary to understand, to comply with the basic definition of the sign.

The three signs you are linking to have the following meanings:

  • The stop sign is a red octagon, optionally with 'stop' (or similar in local language) written on it. It means that you have to stop the vehicle completely before entering the junction and yield for crossing traffic. It is the only sign with this shape.

  • The yield sign is an upside down, white triangle with a red border. It means that you have to yield for crossing traffic, but are not required to stop completely before entering the junction. It is the only sign with this shape.

  • The prohibiton of passing without stopping sign is a white circle with a thick, horizontal black line in the middle and a red border. The sign usually has additional text explaining the reason for why you have to stop (in your example it is a weight control), but even without understanding the text or the specific reason, you know that you for some reason are required to stop. The basic shape of this sign (white circle with red border) identifies it as a prohibition sign. Usually a pictogram in the sign tells you what is prohibited.

Some countries use yellow instead of white as the background colour on their road signs.

So to answer your question: No, there should not be any road signs in Taiway, which are unintelligible to people who can only recognize latin letters.

| improve this answer | |
  • Good to know. I had not much trouble in Europe but I did encounter some signs that I did not know what to do with. In Denmak for example they have one which says the speed limit is NOT a certain velocity but it does not say what the new limit is! Parking signs are a whole other issue though. – Itai Jan 19 '17 at 2:07
  • Most European countries have default speed limits, e.g. for built-up areas, country roads and motorways (in Denmark: 50, 80 and 130km/h). Speed limits are then only designated if they deviate from the default limit. Revoking a designated speed limit (as you have seen) means that the default speed limit comes into force. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 19 '17 at 2:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.