Pedestrian crossings and Traffic signals

Traffic signals

As you drive around you will encounter many traffic light controlled junctions. All of the signals follow the same sequence and meaning.

Red traffic light RED - this signal means stop behind the stop line.

Red and Amber traffic light RED & AMBER - this signal means stop. Do not pass through or start until GREEN shows.

Green traffic light GREEN - this signal means you may go if the way is clear.

Amber traffic light AMBER - this signal means stop at the stop line. You may go if the AMBER appears after you have crossed the stop line or if you are so close to it that to pull up might cause an accident.

Green arrow traffic light GREEN ARROW - this signal may be provided in addition to the full green signal if movement in a certain direction is allowed before or after the full green phase. If the way is clear you may go but only in the direction shown by the arrow. You may do this even when other lights may be showing.

Even though you may have a green light indicating that you can proceed this does not change priorities with regards to oncoming vehicles.

Priorities at traffic lights

Traffic lights sign

This sign is often used on the approach to traffic lights. If you see it, be prepared for possible traffic queues ahead and be ready to stop. You must always obey the signals, even if the lights are only temporary, for example at roadworks.

Traffic lights sign These red lights flash alternately and mean that you must give way to trains or emergency vehicles emerging from their depot. The steady amber light warns you that the red lights are about to show.

Level crossing
A level crossing is where a road crosses a railway or tram line. Always approach and cross level crossings with care. Be on the look out for signs warning you of a level crossing ahead.

Whilst in a queue of traffic at a level crossing it is important not to get too close to the car in front. Only start to cross a level crossing when the road on the other side is clear and there is sufficient room for your car. Once the barriers have lifted and the lights have gone out you can go, do not try to zigzag around the barriers as they are lifting into the upright position.

In the event of your car breaking down on a railway crossing you must firstly, get your passengers to safety; secondly, if there is a railway telephone use it to warn the signal operator and thirdly, if possible, push the car off the crossing (however, if the alarm rings or the amber light comes on get well clear of the crossing).

Pedestrian crossings
There are several types of pedestrian crossing. In each case you must try to identify the crossing early and use your hazard drill.

Pedestrian crossing lines The zigzag lines at these crossings act as a warning that there is a pedestrian crossing ahead and mark an area where you must not park or overtake. You must be careful not to cross over the studded give way line if you cannot clear the crossing area. Apart from the zebra crossing all the other crossings are light controlled and push button operated.

DO NOT beckon a pedestrian

It is important at a crossing that you never beckon a pedestrian onto the crossing as you may be inviting them into danger from traffic travelling in the opposite direction.

Zebra crossing
The yellow flashing light on the diagram below is a 'Belisha beacon'. This marks the location of a zebra crossing, where you see this light you must be prepared to stop and give way to any pedestrians waiting to cross. Once a pedestrian has stepped onto the crossing you must give way and stop.

Zebra crossing beacon

Pelican crossing
These crossings have a flashing amber phase during the traffic light sequence which requires drivers to give way to pedestrians on the crossing. However, if the crossing is clear you may proceed. At some pelican crossings the pedestrian will hear a bleeping sound to indicate to blind or partially-sighted people that the steady green figure is showing so they can cross safely.

Pelican crossing lights

Puffin crossing
These crossings have sensors mounted on top of the traffic lights. The crossing is activated by pressing a button on the yellow box. When the signals change to red for the traffic, the sensors will sense movement on the crossing and keep the traffic lights at red until no movement is detected.

Puffin crossing lights

Toucan crossing
Toucan crossings work in exactly the same way as Pelican crossings except there is no flashing amber phase. They are designed to be used by pedestrians and cyclists at the same time. Cyclists do not need to dismount.

Toucan crossing lights

Equestrian (Pegasus) crossing
A Pegasus crossing is located where a bridleway crosses a major road. At the side of the crossing there will be a fenced area for horses to wait. The sequence and meaning of the lights at this crossing are the same as a Toucan crossing. It may be possible for both pedestrians and horses to cross at this type of crossing, if this is the case there may be two separate crossings.

Equestrian crossing lights

Traffic light crossing
A pedestrian crossing can be incorporated into a normal set of traffic lights. It is still operated by a push button and the crossing area is clearly marked by two rows of studs.

Traffic light crossing

School crossing patrol
The flashing lights on the warning sign inform drivers that a school crossing patrol is ahead. You must give way to the 'lollipop lady' or 'gentleman' on duty and be particularly careful as children will be crossing the road.

School Crossing Patrol

Guidelines for Pedestrians

Guidelines for Pedestrians The most important safety tip to reduce pedestrian injuries to pay attention. You can significantly reduce your chances of being in a collision with a motor vehicle by obeying traffic rules and being aware of dangers posed by cars. Make eye contact with drivers if possible and make sure that they can see you.

Pedestrians must follow these rules...

  • Where possible, avoid walking next to the kerb with your back to the traffic. If you have to step into the road, look both ways first.
  • Wear or carry something light coloured, bright or fluorescent in poor daylight conditions. When it is dark, use reflective materials (e.g. armbands, sashes, waistcoats and jackets), which can be seen, by drivers using headlights, up to three times as far away as non-reflective materials.
  • Young children should not be out alone on the pavement or road ( see Rule 7 ). When taking children out, walk between them and the traffic and hold their hands firmly. Strap very young children into push-chairs or use reins.
  • Always walk on the footpath, they are meant for you. Where there is no footpath, walk in the right side margin of the road so that you can see the traffic coming in the opposite direction.
  • Cross roads where there are pedestrian crossings. They have been painted at great cost for your convenience.
  • Where there are no pedestrian crossings, watch the traffic on both sides and cross when it is safe.
  • You MUST NOT walk on motorways or slip roads except in an emergency.
  • Never walk on the main carriageway, it could be fatal.
  • Do not read newspapers or look at hoardings while walking on the road.
  • Do not greet friends on the road. Take them to the footpath or the side margin.
  • Do not come on to the main road while waiting for a bus. Stay on the footpath at earmarked bus stoppage.
  • Where there are barriers, cross the road only at the gaps provided for pedestrians. Do not climb over the barriers or walk between them and the road.
  • Do not run after a moving bus. Follow safety rules on the road and live long.
  • You MUST NOT get on to or hold on to a moving vehicle.
  • Don't "Drink and Walk." If you've been drinking, take a cab or a bus, or let someone sober drive you home.
  • When walking at night, wear retroany type of crossing you should always check that the traffic has stopped before you start to cross or push a pram onto a crossing . Always cross between the studs or over the zebra markings. Do not cross at the side of the crossing or on the zig-zag lines, as it can be dangerous. You MUST NOT loiter on zebra, pelican or puffin crossings.

We must follow the six-step crossing code whenever we have to cross the road

What is a safe place to cross? Where can I see all the traffic properly? Make sure you are not hidden behind a parked car.

At the edge of the road where you have decided to cross.

Look both ways, many time, to see if there is any traffic coming.

For all the traffic to pass, and for road to be clear.

Walk straight across the road.

Keep looking in all directions as you cross the road until you get to the other side.

Situations need extra care

Emergency vehicles
If an ambulance, fire engine, police or other emergency vehicle approaches using flashing blue lights, headlights and/or sirens, keep off the road.

Get on or off a bus only when it has stopped to allow you to do so. Watch out for cyclists when you are getting off. Never cross the road directly behind or in front of a bus; wait until it has moved off and you can see clearly in both directions.

Railway level crossings
Do not cross if the red lights show, an alarm is sounding or the barriers are being lowered. The tone of the alarm will change if another train is approaching. If there are no lights, alarms or barriers, stop, look both ways and listen before crossing.

Street and pavement repairs
A pavement may be closed temporarily because it is not safe to use. Take extra care if you are directed to walk in or to cross the road.