Zebra Crossings and How to Approach Them

A zebra crossing is considered an uncontrolled crossing and it has no physical way of telling the road users when to stop other than when the road users see the pedestrians waiting.

Zebra crossings are usually very easy to spot as they have black and white poles either side of them with bright amber flashing beacons at the top. The road surface is painted with black and white stripes and of course there are zigzag lines before and after the crossing.

On the approach to the zebra crossing check the interior mirror and come off the gas, then scan the crossing for anyone that may use it. Don’t just scan the crossing but check up and down the sides of the crossing as there may be people near the crossing trying to get to it.

When driving, if you know that you will have to stop, start reducing speed when it’s safe to do so by braking gently and ensure that you will stop safely before the crossing.

Do not brake late as this can scare the pedestrians into believing that you will not stop in time plus it may not give any drivers behind you time to react and they may hit you from behind.

When you do stop its always a good idea to use the handbrake as this will protect you in case someone hits you from behind as the danger of being rear ended could result in you flying forward and hitting into the pedestrians.

Wait patiently for everyone to finish crossing and do not over rev your engine as this can intimidate the pedestrians.

If there is an island in the middle of the crossing then the crossing is counted as two separate crossings and it’s only the crossing that is on your side that you have to worry about. You should still be aware of the other side of the crossing and stop if any of the pedestrians are likely to get there before or at the same time as you.

If you notice someone at the side of the crossing that is not sure whether it’s safe or not to cross, its best to wait patiently making eye contact but do not wave them across as doing so could result in them believing that it’s safe to cross and you could end up waving them into danger.

Once you are sure the crossing is completely free of pedestrians and is safe to proceed, check your right mirror to make sure no one is overtaking you and start to drive off at a safe speed.