a pedestrian crossing|
What does the Highway Code say?
191 to 199 cover pedestrian crossings with section
195 on zebra crossings noting:
As you approach
a zebra crossing:
out for pedestrians waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let
> you MUST give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing.
> allow more time for stopping on wet or icy roads.
> do not wave or
use your horn to invite pedestrians across; this could be dangerous if another
vehicle is approaching.
> be aware of pedestrians approaching from the
side of the crossing.
crossing with a central island is two separate crossings.
conditions and stopping distances
In poor weather conditions, the total
stopping distance of the average family car is clearly greater. Research suggests
braking distances can double in the wet. At 30mph in the dry that is 14m so in
the wet 28m plus the thinking distance of 9m - a total of 120ft (37m) or plus
zebra crossings have been around for over 60 years in the UK, an article on the
petrolprices.com website says a "new
study has shown that 80% of drivers and pedestrians don't know how to use them,
including who has a legal right of way and what drivers need to do when approaching
a crossing." See
article raises a number of important concerns for drivers - both the legal position
but also recognising good driving skills also involve reading the road and courtesy.|
The study asked at what point does a vehicle need to stop at
a zebra crossing to allow a pedestrian to cross? Of those spoken to, 81% answered
incorrectly. The correct answer being that a car needs to come to a stop, to allow
a person to cross, only when that pedestrian has already set foot on the zebra
crossing. It comes from Rule 195 of the Highway Code. The survey spoke to
2,000 people across the country, and only 19% of them knew the correct answer.
The majority - 46% in total - thought that a driver had to stop when a pedestrian
was waiting to cross.
As well as the potential
for accidents, the uncertainties revealed by this study increase the chance of
making a mistake that can cost drivers money. For example motorists are risking
receiving three points on their license and a fine of £100 for failing to
stop when a pedestrian has already stepped onto the crossing.
is key to good driving skills
The sections of the Highway Code covering
pedestrian crossings have an emphasis on observation and anticipation.
With a car travelling at 30mph you are approaching a crossing at 44ft/sec (13.5m/sec)
you are faced with a range of pedestrian actions on or near a pedestrian
crossing: a pedestrian might have stepped onto the crossing, might be standing
on a central island of the crossing, might be in the process of stepping on to
the crossing, might be standing at the edge of the crossing waiting to see if
it is safe to cross, might be approaching the crossing with body language suggesting
they intend crossing, or they might be walking by or standing near the crossing.
In any of those cases the pedestrian could within a matter of seconds be on the
crossing requiring a driver to stop before reaching the crossing.
a driver either does not see a pedestrian or believes they are not about to cross,
at 30mph the time from where the driver could have begun braking to their reaching
the crossing is only 1.7 seconds! Many careful drivers recognise good
driving skills also involve reading the road and courtesy so tend to anticipate
that a pedestrian standing at the edge of a crossing will want to cross and so
slow and halt to let them go.
are the stopping distances?|
On the RAC website their chart shows the typical
stopping distances for an average family car. The thinking distance and the
braking distance are shown which together are the total distance. At 30mph
the total is 75ft (23m) - typically 6 car lengths. At 40mph that distance
is 50% greater at 118ft (36m) or 9 car lengths. With the increasing adoption of
"20 is plenty" zones in built up areas it's interesting that at 20mph
the distance is 40ft (12m) or 3 car lengths, so substantially less at half that
at 30mph. RAC
The concerns covered by the petrolprices.com
article help to explain why there are some 20 collisions a day involving pedestrians
on crossings around the UK - amounting to some 7,000 incidents a year. Other problems
contributing to concerns over the use of pedestrian crossings include pedestrians
being distracted by talking on their smartphones, listening to music or even checking
social media as they walk up to and on to a pedestrian crossing.