Image by Humphrey Bolton

Blind and partially sighted people are able to recognize where to cross by the rough texture of the paving at the edge of the crossing. There may be a sandy coloured section of tarmac – this gives a good gripping surface for braking/stopping traffic: this is also a visible clue for the driver to the location of the crossing.

How will I know if someone wants to cross a zebra crossing?

The Highway Code tells us that a pedestrian wishing to cross at a Zebra crossing would put a foot onto the crossing area. But, in these busy times, that is unadvisable, and a lot of pedestrians have never read the Highway Code, so would not know this.  As a driver you need to keep your eyes open for people standing near to the crossing, who most likely are wanting to use it. Watch their body language, this is a good indicator of their intentions.

On seeing a Zebra Crossing you should, in good time…

  • Check for pedestrians nearby (if there is no one, then just drive over as normal), but keep a look out for people running towards the crossing, just in case.
  • Check your mirrors for following traffic
  • Apply the brakes early to alert any close following traffic (you may use hand signals to support this). Check the Highway Code for the correct hand signal.
  • Stop – at the white line, or behind the other vehicles, and apply handbrake. This is to give extra security in case your car is hit from behind, you will be less likely to be pushed into the pedestrians on the crossing.
  • Prepare to set off again, but do not do so if there are any people still on the crossing, it must be clear before you set off again. Check all around you for stray pedestrians, mirrors, before moving off.
  • Never wave or urge a pedestrian across the road, or crossing. Be patient. Let them decide for themselves. Never rev up the engine, it scares them.
  • If it is a dual carriageway, with a staggered crossing, the approach these as two separate crossings, treat them as such. When your side is clear, move off as normal. Warning, not all pedestrians appreciate this fact, and could consider it their right to just continue across the second half of the road, without first stopping at the kerb to check traffic has stopped for them. Always be prepared to stop at any crossing, just in case.

Things you should know about Zebra Crossings

  • There may be an advanced warning triangle on approach. Look out for it.
  • There may also be situated on a hump. This will be sign-posted.
  • There may be several, especially in town centres or near schools.
  • Never block or park over the crossing, leave it clear so people can still use them event though the traffic is slow moving or in a queue.
  • They are often worn out and in need of upgrading, which can make them hard to see.
  • The amber beacon flashes all the time.
  • They can be situated in strange places, for example, across the opening/exit to a roundabout. Approach them in the same way as any other crossing.

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