Drivers v people at crossings

How drivers and pedestrians cope at uncontrolled crossings

Uncontrolled crossings are places where people are expected to cross the road without being given legal priority such as at zebra crossings or at traffic lights (traffic signals).

Drivers struggle to understand the road ahead. They drive more safely when they only need to concentrate on one thing at a time. At multiple lanes drivers need to think also about the likely movements of other drivers as well as pedestrians. At a single lane one-way road drivers need only to anticipate the movements of pedestrians.

A driver on a dual carriageway must pay attention to many hazards including other vehicles on the opposite side of the road. As many dual carriageway have a speed limit of 50mph (80km/h) there is little time to react and slow down and vibe courteous to waiting pedestrians

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This dual carriageway has a refuge for pedestrians. As drivers are segregated from drivers travelling in the opposite direction, the perceived hazards decreased. Though a driver still needs to be aware of other vehicles travelling in the same direction, which on high speed roads reduces the chances of a driver stopping, unless required by law to do so.

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This single carriageway has a speed limit of 30mph (50k/h). The drivers must pay attention to oncoming traffic and wait for pedestrians. As there is no refuge. pedestrians must cross when both drivers are willing to stop, which decreases the opportunity for pedestrians to cross.

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At a single carriageway with a central refuge, drivers give their full attention to pedestrians. As the driver stopping does not impact other drivers, there is an increase in courtesy to pedestrians.

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On a single lane in a built up area, drivers are most likely to stop for pedestrians. The time taken by a pedestrian to walk across the road is minimal ad so the delay experienced by drivers is also low. Because the delay is short, a driver is also more likely to stop voluntarily.

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Pedestrian’s viewpoint of crossings

Pedestrians waiting to cross a single one-way lane need only to wait for a single vehicle to stop in order to cross safely. Pedestrians waiting to cross a multi-lane two-way road need to wait util two or more vehicles for two directions have stopped. A far more difficult task.

On this dual carriageway, pedestrians must cross 12 metres of road. This is very dangerous as there may be up to four vehicles travelling at 50mph (80km/h). This is enough for pedestrians not to attempt to cross at all and try to find an alternative safer place to cross.

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A dual carriageway with a central refuge is safer that one without. A pedestrian has only to pay attention to two vehicles travelling in one direction rather than four in opposite directions.

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Possibly the most common situation faced by pedestrians at uncontrolled crossings is a single carriageway with vehicles travelling in both directions. A pedestrian needs to focus on one from each direction but can only pay attention to one at a time. In practice a pedestrian will need to wait until vehicles form both directions have stopped.

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The situation for a pedestrian is easier when the street has a central refuge. A pedestrian only need to focus on one vehicle from a single direction. In addition there are only 3 metres of road that need to be crossed, which is comfortable length for most people.

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Finally a road with only a single lane of traffic is clearly the easiest for pedestrians to cross. In an urban setting, drivers will have already reduced speed and are visible to pedestrians, making their movements steady and predictable.

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