13 Unusual Road Signs from Around the World

iStock/georgeclerk
iStock/georgeclerk

Driving in other countries can be challenging. Whether the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car, you're driving on the "wrong" side of the street, or the road signs and their meanings are perplexing, it's easy to get confused. Here are few unusual road signs—and explanations of what they mean—from around the world.

1. Steep Cliff Road Sign // Argentina


istock.com/OlafSpeier

No, cars don't have a tendency to levitate in Argentina. This road sign is meant to remind drivers to be cautious about their speeds on an upcoming hill.

2. Llama Crossing Road Sign // Bolivia

Llama crossing road sign in Bolivia
iStock.com/javarman3

When you're driving in Bolivia and other countries in South America, you should be on the lookout for llamas crossing the road. We hear they spit.

3. Blind Hill Road Sign // Iceland


istock.com/slavemotion

Listen up, Iceland! That exclamation point is meant to draw your attention to the upcoming blindhæð, or "blind hill," where you can't see if anyone is coming toward you from the other side.

4. Hedgehog Road Sign // United Kingdom


istock.com/naumoid

Make sure you have the strongest tires possible if you're driving through the UK and miss this road sign—it warns motorists that spiky but adorable hedgehogs are in the vicinity. Or better yet, drive extra carefully and avoid running over these little guys altogether.

5. Sled Crossing Road Sign // Greenland


istock.com/Yvonne Wacht

In a country with very few roads and a lot of ice, dogsleds are one of the best ways to get around. This sign in Greenland alerts drivers that there could be sleds ahead.

6. Oryx Crossing Road Sign // Southern Africa


istock.com/2630ben

We know that an oryx, a type of African antelope, will attack a drone. We don't know if it will attack your car. Just to be safe, heed these road signs found in several southern African countries.

7. Prohibited Conveyance Road Sign // Israel


istock.com/tzahiV

This looks like it could be a landing spot in your favorite board game, but it's actually an Israeli road sign letting drivers know what modes of transportation aren't allowed in this area.

8. Dead End Sign // Germany


istock.com/PierreOlivierClementMantion

This German sign does not indicate the top of a pogo stick, or that there is a bike tire pump nearby. The red line at the top of the white line on this road sign actually represents a dead end street.

9. No Overtaking Road Sign // Russia


istock.com/Nevena1987

Despite what you might think, red cars don't have special priority on this road. This Russian sign tells drivers that the roadway is a two-way road, and the different colors mean no overtaking or passing.

10. Kangaroo Crossing Road Sign // Australia


istock.com/avarooa

Australia is full of cute wildlife that wants to kill you, so watch out when you're driving on the country's highways. There could be a homicidal kangaroo eyeing your Honda.

11. Battlefield Sign // United Kingdom


istock.com/georgeclerk

As much as you might want this one to mean "swords, next left," it really means there's a famous battlefield site up ahead. Like in the United States, brown road signs in the U.K. indicate tourist attractions and historical sites.

12. Coastal Path Sign // Ireland


istock.com/brians101

Yes, it resembles Homer Simpson's hair, but this Irish road sign indicates the Wild Atlantic Way, a 1550-mile walking path along the island's scenic west coast.

13. Camel Crossing Road Sign // Israel


istock.com/cunfek

In the U.S., you might find signs for speed bumps. In Israel, you find signs for bumps in the animals crossing the road.

Why You Should Never Charge Your Phone in Public USB Ports Without a USB Data Blocker

Creative-Family/iStock via Getty Images
Creative-Family/iStock via Getty Images

The USB charging ports that have popped up at airports, coffee shops, and even outdoor stations around cities in recent years are definitely a lifesaver when your smartphone is down to its last bit of juice. A dead phone is annoying at best and downright dangerous at worst, so it’s totally understandable why you’d jump at the chance to revive it at your earliest opportunity.

However, those public ports might not be as benevolent as they seem. According to Afar, hackers can load malware onto those stations—or on the cables left plugged into the stations—which can then deliver passwords and other data right from your device to the hacker’s. If you have used a public port recently, don’t panic; TechCrunch reports that these cases are fairly rare. Having said that, it’s definitely better not to risk it, especially considering what a nightmare it would be to have your identity stolen.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office explains that the easiest way to prevent becoming a victim of this type of scam, often referred to as juice-jacking, is simply to abstain from using public USB charging ports. Instead, invest in a portable charger, or plug your own charger into an actual AC power outlet.

But unoccupied power outlets are notoriously hard to come by in public places, and portable chargers themselves can also run out of battery life. Luckily, there’s a small, inexpensive device called a data blocker that will enable you to use public USB charging ports without worrying about juice-jacking. It looks a little like a flash drive with an extra slot, but it lacks the two wires usually found in USB chargers that can download and upload data. That way, your device will charge without transferring any information.

You can get two of them for $11 from Amazon here.

[h/t Afar]

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Pitch Your Novel Idea on Twitter and You Could Win a Writer's Retreat in the British Countryside

Nomadsoul1/iStock via Getty Images
Nomadsoul1/iStock via Getty Images

Social media is usually a distraction for writers working on their novel, but in 2020, it could be a gateway to quiet and solitude. HolidayCottages.co.uk, a UK-based vacation rental site with a focus on quaint accommodations, is offering one novelist a free writer's retreat. All they have to do to enter is summarize their book in a tweet.

Whether you have an idea for a new novel or you're in the middle of writing one, you can pitch your story using the hashtag #WriTweet. The pitch has to be engaging enough to catch the attention of the competition's judge and brief enough to fit Twitter's 280-character limit. Elizabeth Macneal, writer of the book The Doll Factory, will read one entry per candidate and choose a winner.

The person with the best tweet will be treated to a week-long writer's retreat at their choice of three cottages. The options include cozy homes in the countrysides of East Sussex, England; Carmarthenshire, Wales; and East Scotland. At the end of the writer's stay, Macneal will provide feedback on up to 10,000 words of what they've written so far.

If you're interested in applying, you can pitch your story on Twitter using the hashtag #WriTweet before midnight on January 24, 2020. The winner will be contacted within 28 days of the contest deadline. Looking for inspiration? Here are some creative ways novelists have used Twitter as a medium in the past.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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