Learning to Drive: Pedestrian Crossings

Jamie Daly - Apr 1 2022 12:50PM
Learning to Drive: Pedestrian Crossings img

Part 8 of the Learning to Drive series, Pedestrian Crossings.      

Learning to Drive: Rules About Pedestrian Crossings

As a learner driver, you will have to keep a watchful eye out for pedestrian crossings, as a Pedestrian Crossing Sign will not always be there to warn you. Look out for other signals that a pedestrian crossing is up ahead (are you near a school? Are you driving in a built up area?)  

Traffic Light Crossings

Traffic Light Crossings are pedestrian controlled crossings. A pedestrian activates the crossing by pushing a button. They must wait until the light changes colour, indicating it's safe to cross.

When the light is ‘Red’, vehicles stop and wait - pedestrians cross.

When the light is ‘Green’, pedestrians stop and wait - vehicles drive on.

Some general tips:

  • When the red light is illuminated, apply the handbrake and set the biting point.
  • When the green light is illuminated, but somebody is waiting at the crossing, be prepared to stop as the light could change colour.
  • If the the light turns amber as you're passing the crossing, proceed onward. You should avoid braking abruptly.


  Zebra Crossings Zebra Crossings are identified by two Flashing Beacons and a White Stripe pattern on the road. If a pedestrian is using a zebra crossing, you must wait for them to cross before driving on. Keep an eye out - you should slow down and even stop for people you suspect may attempt to cross   Dos and Don'ts at Zebra Crossings Do...

  • 1) Check your mirrors as you approach - to see if there are any vehicles close behind you.
  • 2) Slow down and thoroughly observe - pedestrians could appear at any time
  • 3) Wait until the pedestrian has crossed the 'entire' crossing - not just your half of the road.
  • 4) Slow down early in poor weather - as your stopping distance will be increased.
  • 5) Be careful at night - when pedestrians may be harder to spot.


  • 1) Approach at speed - your stopping will be harsh and abrupt.
  • 2) Stop for no reason - unless a pedestrian is crossing or close to the crossing, avoid stopping.
  • 3) Gesture for people to cross - this may put pedestrians in danger.
  • 4) Block the crossing - this space should be clear for pedestrians to cross at all times.

  Pelican / Toucan Crossings Pelican Crossings are similar to Toucan Crossings. However, a toucan crossing can be crossed by a cyclist too (a nice little tip for your theory test). Pelican / Toucan Crossings are traffic light controlled. What is important to know is that when the amber light is flashing and nobody is crossing, you may proceed. However, if people are crossing or appear as if they may want to cross, you must still wait.   Dos & Don'ts at Pelican / Toucan Crossings Do...

  • 1) Look out for anyone who may want to cross - if someone looks like they may want to cross and the amber light is flashing, wait.
  • 2) Wait behind the line - the line is there to distance vehicles waiting at the lights from pedestrians crossing.
  • 3) Be ready to stop if somebody is waiting at the crossing - the light may be 'green', but if somebody is waiting at the crossing, that is an early warning sign that the traffic light may change colour.


  • 1) Proceed when pedestrians are still crossing - wait until the crossing is free of all pedestrians.
  • 2) Attempt to drive around pedestrians crossing on a 'green' light - wait until they have passed.


Spotting Crossings - Drivers may forget to look out for crossings. Particularly zebra crossings, which can be hard to spot when there are no flashing beacons.  


Waiting Until Crossing Is Clear - When a pedestrian is using a crossing, you won't endanger them by driving on wrecklessly.  

InsureLearnerDriver HELPFUL TIP

Take notice of your surroundings e.g. are there school children? You might be near a school, in which case there are likely to be pedestrian crossings.   Watch For More Info!

< Read Part 7 - Hazard AwarenessRead Part 9 - Roundabouts (1/2) >

'Learning to Drive' series - full lesson list