Bumper Finance Available On All Courses More Info

Call us: 0161 204 3790

Bumper Finance Available On All Courses More Info

Opening Times


Home / Blog / Understanding Pedestrian Crossings With National Intensive

03 / 06 / 24

Understanding Pedestrian Crossings With National Intensive

Navigating pedestrian crossings is a vital aspect of safe driving. You will spend lesson time with National Intensive covering these crossings and be expected by your driving examiner to understand how each one operates and react accordingly to them. Each type of crossing has distinct features designed to protect pedestrians and ensure smooth traffic flow. In this blog, we will explore various pedestrian crossings, including Pelican, Puffin, Toucan, Zebra, and Equestrian/Hybrid crossings. Additionally, we’ll discuss the MSPSL routine and the importance of anticipation in planning ahead while driving.


Types of Pedestrian Crossings

1. Pelican Crossings (PEdestrian LIght CONtrolled): Pelican crossings are signal-controlled and feature a set of traffic lights for vehicles and a push-button-operated signal for pedestrians. When a pedestrian presses the button, the traffic lights turn red for vehicles, allowing pedestrians to cross safely. Flashing amber lights follow the red light phase, during which drivers can proceed if the crossing is clear.

2. Puffin Crossings (Pedestrian User-Friendly INtelligent): Puffin crossings are an upgrade of Pelican crossings with sensors that detect pedestrian movement. These sensors ensure that the signal stays red for vehicles until pedestrians have safely crossed, improving efficiency and safety. The pedestrian lights are located on the same side as the pedestrian, making it easier to see.

3. Toucan Crossings (Two-Can-Cross): Toucan crossings are designed for both pedestrians and cyclists, allowing them to cross simultaneously. These crossings are typically wider and feature push-button controls and traffic signals, similar to Puffin crossings. They are commonly found on routes with high cyclist traffic.

4. Zebra Crossings: Zebra crossings are characterized by their distinctive black and white stripes on the road, accompanied by flashing amber beacons. Vehicles must stop to allow pedestrians to cross when they step onto the crossing. There are no traffic signals for vehicles at zebra crossings, making it essential for drivers to be vigilant.

5. Equestrian/Hybrid Crossings: Equestrian crossings cater to horse riders, with higher-mounted push buttons and signals for riders on horseback. Hybrid crossings combine features of different crossing types to accommodate various users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders, ensuring safety for all.


The MSPSL Routine

The MSPSL routine (Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look) is a systematic approach to ensure safe and efficient driving, especially when approaching pedestrian crossings.

1. Mirror: Check your mirrors to assess the traffic situation behind and around you. Be aware of any vehicles or cyclists that may be affected by your actions.

2. Signal: Indicate your intentions early by signalling. This warns other road users, including pedestrians, of your intended actions.

3. Position: Position your vehicle appropriately. For example, if you are turning, ensure you are in the correct lane well in advance.

4. Speed: Adjust your speed as you approach the crossing. Slow down to a speed that allows you to stop safely if necessary.

5. Look: Continuously scan the environment for pedestrians, cyclists, and other potential hazards. Ensure the crossing is clear before proceeding.


Importance of Anticipation

Anticipation is a crucial skill for drivers, enabling them to predict potential hazards and react appropriately. Here’s how anticipation plays a role in pedestrian crossings:

1. Observing Pedestrian Behaviour: Watch for pedestrians waiting to cross or moving towards the crossing. Early detection allows you to prepare to stop.

2. Noticing Signals: Be attentive to traffic signals and pedestrian lights. React promptly to changes, ensuring the safety of pedestrians and smooth traffic flow.

3. Predicting Actions: Anticipate the actions of other road users, including cyclists and other vehicles. This helps in making informed decisions and avoiding sudden manoeuvres.

4. Environmental Awareness: Stay aware of the environment, including school zones, shopping areas, and parks where pedestrian activity is high. This awareness allows you to drive cautiously and be prepared for unexpected crossings.



Understanding the different types of pedestrian crossings and practicing the MSPSL routine can significantly enhance road safety. By combining these practices with keen anticipation, drivers can ensure the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users. Safe driving is not just about following rules but also about being proactive and considerate, creating a safer environment for everyone.


Practical Test

Understanding Pedestrian Crossings With National Intensive


03 / 06 / 24


New Bumper Theory Quiz – Can You Score At Least 43/50?


22 / 05 / 24

Useful Information

Roundabouts, an introduction using MSPSL


17 / 05 / 24

A grass field with a few trees, bushes and a lampost.