In this article
Rules of pedestrian crossings
There are several rules that apply to all pedestrian crossings and they are in place to make crossings a safe place where pedestrians can use the road. Vehicles are not allowed to park in the zigzag lines that can be found close to each crossing and it is illegal to overtake the vehicle closest to the crossing, as this is dangerous and can cause accidents.
Types of pedestrian crossings
There are several types of crossings in the UK and along with two rules which govern all crossings, each individual crossing has a unique set of rules and traffic light sequence. The individual crossings are; Zebra Crossing, Puffin Crossing, Pelican Crossing, Toucan Crossing and Equestrian Crossing
Zebra crossings are the most recognisable of the crossings, they have black and white stripes, flashing beacons overhead to help you spot them in good time and they have no lights or signals. You are required to stop for pedestrians on the crossing once they begin to walk across.
Pelican crossings are operated by pedestrians. To cross the road they push the control button and wait for a green figure to appear. They operate on a timer, however, pedestrians do not know how long it will take for the green figure to change to red and as such, these crossings are not great for the elderly or disabled.
Puffin crossings are controlled automatically by signals and they display a red and green figure on the control box located on the side of the road. This tells the pedestrian when it is safe to cross the road and each crossing is also fitted with a sensor, which detects the presence of pedestrians and displays a red light to drivers if an individual is waiting or currently crossing the road.
Slightly different to both the pelican and puffin crossing, the Toucan crossing can be used by cyclists, they are often found within prominent cycle routes or where two parks join and they are operated by pushing the button in the control box.
The least common of all the crossings, equestrian crossings are designed for horse riders as well as pedestrians, they are much wider and are normally found in areas where horses are commonly kept and bred.
How are you expected to drive on pedestrian crossings
You are expected to drive with care and consideration for all pedestrians when approaching a pedestrian crossing. To pass your driving test you are expected to show restraint on approach, stopping for pedestrians on or at the crossing and you should not wave or beckon elderly or disabled pedestrians who are in the process of crossing the road.
Top Tips For Dealing With Pedestrian Crossing
You will certainly to come across a pedestrian crossing during your driving lessons and on your driving test. They are in all built-up areas and our top tips will not only help you remain safe on crossings, they’ll also reduce the chances of you making a mistake that could lead to a failed driving test. Our top tips are as follows;
Scan ahead while driving
The earlier you spot a crossing, the more chance you have of stopping in time. You want to stop in time to give way to pedestrians waiting at the crossing or already crossing the road. Keep scanning ahead as you drive looking out for potential crossing markers and beacons, as early detection makes it easier to stop in good time.
Exercise patience at all pedestrian crossings
If you arrive at a crossing and there are people crossing, albeit at a very slow pace, as is the case with many disabled and elderly pedestrians, it is important to be patient and let the pedestrians cross the road in their own time. Do not wave them across, rev your engine or use your horn, as this can cause the individual to become anxious and flustered.
Learn the light sequence for each crossing
Pelican, Puffin and Toucan crossings have different light sequences. Understanding the light sequence of each crossing will help reduce the chances of you taking the wrong course of action when faced with one. Learner drivers and qualified drivers alike, who spend their time reading up on the individual crossings and their light sequences, make fewer mistakes than drivers who do not.
Use the MSM routine on the approach
If you spot a pedestrian waiting to cross, use the mirror signal manoeuvre routine when coming to a stop. Check your mirrors for following traffic and brake progressively, There’s no need to signal as you aren’t pulling up or changing direction. Check your mirrors again before moving off from the pedestrian crossing.
Deciding when to proceed when pedestrians are nearby
When deciding whether or not to proceed at a crossing where pedestrians are close by, look at the individual’s body language to determine whether they are ready to cross the road or not. Pedestrians looking left and right, close to the edge of the road are in most cases ready to cross, while individuals, who are looking at their phone, talking to one another or appear preoccupied with something else, may not be ready just yet.
It is very important to ensure that once a pedestrian begins to cross, you wait till they have safely reached the other side of the road before continuing with your journey. Moving off while a pedestrian is still on the crossing is considered dangerous driving and can result in you failing your driving test if done during an examination. You can use the POM routine when moving off from a pedestrian crossing.
In order to improve safety and increase the confidence of pedestrians using the road, TFL is installing smart crossings with a countdown timer, to display in seconds how long you have left before the green figure turns red. Pedestrians feel much safer crossing the road when they know how long they have to reach the other side and it also saves motorists time on their journey as well because fewer people try and cross the road as the lights are about to change.