What you need to know about pedestrian crossings

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zebra crossing blackpool

What you need to know about pedestrian crossings 

zebra crossing blackpool


When you first begin learning to drive  it can be very easy to become overwhelmed with all of the rules and guides that go driving a car. Many students often feel mastering the clutch, brake and steering a massive distraction on their  driving lessons but once you have the basic controls down to a T you can then start focusing more and hazards on the roads, including; the different pedestrian crossings that you will come across, your confidence will help you become a safe and driver.  Here’s a few basic rules and advice on dealing with pedestrian crossing. We advise you take note as not educating yourself on this subject could land you in serious trouble or even worse cause a fatality

The Traffic Light Sequence

While learning to drive and once you have your licence, you will certainly come across many traffic lights. Knowing how they work can make you a safer and more efficient driver. Different lights mean different things, and while the concept is simple, here was have listed a breakdown of a traffic light sequence.

  • Red light: You must stop just behind the white stop line if the traffic light is red. Crossing over the line ever so slightly may result in failing your driving test or three penalty points and a fine.
  • Red and amber traffic lights: With this light combination, you must still stop but you should be prepared for the light to turn green. Keep in mind that you must not pass through the intersection until the green light has been illuminated.
  • Green traffic light: Green means go! Always look around before proceeding though the green light  to make sure that there are no pedestrians or other road users  in your way.
  • Amber traffic light: If the amber light is continuously illuminated (not flashing), be prepared to stop. Driving through an amber light is only acceptable if you have already crossed over the stop line as it changes or if stopping is dangerous . I.e. if there’s bad weather or higher chance of an accident. This is why checking your centre mirror is very important when approaching traffic lights – Just imagine if someone was up real close behind and you were to slam your brakes on!  regular use of the centre mirror could prevent someone going into the back of you. If you see it early, slow down sooner to bide yourselves both some time to react.

Zebra Crossing

Probably the most easily identified pedestrian crossing  it can be easy to spot because of its black and white strips that form a path across a road. These crossings do not have traffic lights. They usually have two flashing amber beacons either side of the crossing.  Pedestrians crossing at a zebra crossing should give you plenty of time to see them as you must stop to let them cross. This is a very common road crossing that you will quickly become familiar with.

There are no traffic lights at a zebra crossing but they are easy to spot because of the black and white poles with flashing yellow lights on both sides of the marked crossing. This makes zebra crossings easy to see, even during inclement weather and at night.

Pelican Crossing

A pelican crossing is similar to the zebra except that pedestrians are signalled to cross by a signal or pelican crossing lights. They are found at intersections with traffic lights. These are more common in heavily populated areas.

When the button is pressed by a pedestrian at a pelican crossing, the traffic light will shortly change from green to amber and then to red.  This crossing has a flashing amber light – when the traffic light is flashing amber it signals that motorists are allowed to proceed as long as the crossing is clear. (the pedestrian will see a flashing green man, indicating to them that the lights for the motorists will soon turn to green)  The light will eventually turn back to green.

When approaching a pelican crossing, take care to observe your surroundings. For example, be prepared to slow down when approaching these crossings in case the light changes and pedestrians are signalled to cross. Keep in mind that when the amber light is flashing, you are required to give way. Pedestrians are less likely to check for oncoming traffic at a pelican crossing because of the signals.

Toucan Crossing

At a toucan crossing, both pedestrians and cyclists can safely cross. If you keep asking,. A very easy way to remember this crossing is to think TWO CAN CROSS (Toucan) You will normally come across this type of crossing near a park or cycle lanes. The amber flashing light feature is not used at a toucan crossing and traffic lights operate like normal.

Puffin Crossing

A puffin crossing is similar to a pelican crossing but a little more advanced thanks to sensors located on top of the traffic lights. These sensors can hold the red traffic light longer as needed if it senses that pedestrians are waiting or already crossing. The light sequence is  similar to a pelican crossing, puffin crossing lights do not utilize the flashing amber signal. They operate just like a normal traffic light. It’s possible that a pedestrian will cross at a strange angle and not trigger the sensor so always be on the lookout for pedestrians at a puffin crossing.

Equestrian Crossing

Equestrian crossings are also known as Pegasus crossings  operate similar to toucan crossings. They allow horse riders to cross safely. At a Pegasus crossing, there is no flashing amber light and the traffic lights will operate like normal.

Children Crossing Sign

This is a very important pedestrian sign to know. When approaching a children crossing sign, or school crossing, always stop when a school crossing patrol officer steps into the road. You might notice a flashing amber signal when approaching a school crossing. Always drive slowly until you have passed the crossing and use extreme caution as children can be unpredictable.

When it comes to learning all the different pedestrian crossings, just remember that these crossings are designed to be a safe place for pedestrians to cross. Always approach a pedestrian crossing sign with safety in mind. Never park on a crossing or stop on top of the lines. Also, avoid waving on a pedestrian as other drivers might not stop for them.

Level Crossings

Level crossing signs are typically found on the approach to a crossing to warn drivers of the hazard ahead. They are often then followed by further signs and depending on the type of crossing, possibly light signals that inform drivers when to stop.


Level crossing signs are used to warn motorists of a level crossing ahead. For the theory test, you will also be expected to know the various types of crossings and rules for levels crossings


These signs indicate a level crossing ahead that uses either automatic barriers or gates operated manually by railway staff.


Level crossing without a gate or barrier can be seen on quiet roads where motorists must give way to trains similar to a road junction.

Always look out for pedestrians that may try and cross near a level crossing.

Practicing pedestrian crossing on your driving lessons

We hope this basic guide to pedestrian crossing has helped educate you. Remember, you can ask your driving instructor for more information on your driving lessons.  Your driving lessons should be consisting of pedestrian crossings training.  

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