What are you driving at? Motorists left baffled by modern dashboards


If women can’t read maps and men always lose their keys, there is at least one aspect about driving that unites the sexes: neither has a clue when it comes to identifying dashboard warning lights.

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Nearly all motorists who were asked to identify the huge display  of warning lights that can now be found in many of the country’s most popular new vehicles struggled to work out what they meant.

Tyre pressure, engine emission and fog light indicators were the most confusing with 98 per cent of drivers failing to correctly identify all of them.

When shown images of the 16 most common dashboard symbols, 71 per cent of motorists do not recognise a tyre pressure warning light with one in twenty thinking it is something to do with the oil or brakes. And more than a third (35 per cent) of drivers did not recognise an airbag warning symbol with 27 per cent mistaking it for a seatbelt warning, according to the survey by Britannia Rescue.

The Mercedes Benz E Class was considered to be the most complex car featuring 41 warning lights – almost twice as many as the Volvo S40.

Peter Horton, the Britannia Rescue managing director, said: “Dashboard warning lights are like alarm bells telling you something is wrong with your car and urgent action may be required, either to prevent damage to your car or for your safety.

“If a warning symbol lights up, you should stop in a safe place as soon as possible and check what the problem is. Keep your vehicle manual handy so that you can easily check what that symbol means as well as what action to take.”

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