In the UK there are 5 types of road crossings, all of which could come in your theory test. However, most people are not aware of all 5, in this blog post we’ll take a look at each of the crossings and explain how they function and where you will most likely see them.
Crossings are a major potential hazard for drivers, in particular learner drivers who may not be as aware of the dangers. It’s important to anticipte that the traffic lights at a crossing may change even if nobody is stood nearby. If you see a pedestrian waiting at a crossing, anticipate that they may have pressed the crossings button and therefore the lights may change to red suddenly, always be prepared to stop.
Pelican crossings feature a zig-zag line as you approach them, warning the drivers of the crossing ahead. Pelican crossings are activated by the pedestrian pressing the button and waiting for the lights to change to red. You should slow down on approach to a crossing, in particular when you can see a pedestrian is waiting for the lights to change.
The light sequence for a pelican crossing is different to others, it will go from Green, Amber to Red and then flash Amber. The flashing amber signal means you can go proceed if the crossing is clear, if not you must give way to the pedestrians on the crossing.
If the signal has gone green and pedestrians are still crossing the road you must continue to give way to them.
Puffin crossings stands for pedestrian user-friendly intelligent crossing. They are very similar to the pelican crossing outlined above but feature more advanced technology to detect when people are still crossing the road and keeps the lights red until they have cleared the crossing.
The light sequence of puffin crossings act as a normal traffic light and do not have a flashing amber sequence like pelican crossings do.
Zebra crossings are one of the most common crossings in the UK, their distinctive white striped crossings with flashing warning amber lights makes them easy spot. There are not traffic lights on these crossings and therefore it is the responsibility of the driver to make sure they approach them at a sensible speed and check both sides of the crossing for pedestrians looking to cross the road.
You must stop and give way to pedestrians on the crossing or waiting to cross, ensuring you give them enough time to get across. Always be prepared for pedestrians who may unexpectedly step out into the crossing.
Toucan crossings allow both cyclists and pedestrians to cross, they are very similar to Pelican crossings but do not have a flashing amber light as part of its light sequence.
Finally, one of the less common crossings in the UK is a pegasus crossing, also known as Equestrian crossings.
They are designed specifically to allow both pedestrians and horses to cross the road, featuring two button heights to allow a horse rider to reach without having to dismount. The sensors on the crossing hold the traffic on a red light until the crossing is fully cleared.