Controlled and Uncontrolled Crossings

There are lots of different types of crossings that you will come across while out driving. The main ones are pelican crossings, puffin crossings, toucan crossings, equestrian crossings and zebra crossings.

A zebra crossing is what we call an uncontrolled crossing. An uncontrolled crossing is one that pedestrians cannot give a physical signal in order for traffic to stop for them to cross. The pedestrians simply have to wait at or near the crossing and then the traffic should slow down and stop for them behind the white lines. The pedestrians can cross when they feel safe to do so.

As a road user we must make sure that we do not harass or intimidate the pedestrians when they are using the crossing as this will add unnecessary pressure on them and make them feel uncomfortable.

Once the pedestrians have cleared the crossing then we can carry on as normal.

Controlled crossings are ones that pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders have the power to press a button which will turn the green light red and that signals for drivers to stop.

These are more prominent crossings that give a physical signal for drivers to know whether they can continue or stop.

There is a yellow box within reach which has a button attached. Once pressed the box will light up with the word WAIT. Within seconds the green light for the road users will turn red and a green man should appear instructing that its now the pedestrians time to cross.

Despite the fact that controlled crossings have more visible power they are not always used as uncontrolled crossings can allow pedestrians to cross without waiting for the lights to change and road users also can continue their journey as soon as the crossing is clear rather than wait for the red light to go.

At the same time uncontrolled crossings aren’t usually as safe to use as controlled crossings as not all road users look out for pedestrians waiting at uncontrolled crossings and occasionally at uncontrolled crossings the pedestrians walk out without checking to see if the oncoming traffic is approaching with caution and an accident is always a possibility here.

Drivers should always approach any type of crossing with caution, checking their rear mirrors and coming off the gas on the approach and scanning the crossing whether it’s a controlled or uncontrolled crossing always with the intention of stopping if they need to.