Traffic Lights & Pedestrian Crossings

In this lesson, you will learn how to approach and drive through traffic lights, level crossings and pedestrian crossings safely. You will learn what the different colours of the lights mean, and about the different types of pedestrian crossings you will come across.

Traffic Lights

Traffic Lights have 3 lights that change in a set cycle:

Red – means stop and wait at the stop line
Red and Amber – means stop and wait
Green – means go if it’s clear
Amber – means stop unless you have already crossed the line

Approaching Traffic Lights

When you notice that there are traffic lights ahead you should start the MSPSL routine. You need to check mirrors so you are fully aware of what is behind you and how close it is.

Ease of the gas and brake if necessary. Be prepared to stop behind the line, especially if the lights have been on green for a little while.

Pay attention to any signs or road markings and get into the correct lane in good time.

Do not change lanes at the last minute.

Filter Arrows

A green arrow pointing in the direction you intend to go means you have priority to go in that direction, even when other lights are showing red. Only continue to go if it’s clear.

Advance Stop Lines

Some traffic lights have advance stop lines.

Cyclists can position themselves between the lines, ahead of the other traffic.

When lights are red or amber you should stop behind the first line. If you have already crossed the first line when the lights change you must stop behind the second line.

Level Crossings

A level crossing is where a road crosses a railway track or a tram line.

You should only start to cross over a level crossing when the road on the other side is clear and there is enough room for your car to fit.

If your car breaks down on a level crossing you must:

  • Get your passengers to safety
  • Use the railway telephone to warn the signal operator
  • If there is enough time before the train arrives, push the car off the crossing
  • If an alarm sounds, or the amber light comes on, get clear of the crossing immediately

Pedestrians Crossings

There are several different types of pedestrian crossings. Look well ahead to identify them early and use the M S P S L routine when approaching them.

Zebra Crossings
Zebra Crossings are not light controlled.

They have black and white stripes painted on the road. They also have yellow Belisha beacons on both sides of the road.

You must give way to pedestrians who are on the crossing.

Be aware of anyone near to the crossing who may start to cross. When pedestrians are on the pavement and want to cross, stop and allow them to cross.

If a pedestrian doesn’t start to cross you must never tell them to cross by gesturing to them. This could be dangerous if another driver/rider is nearby. Let the pedestrian make their own decision.

Pelican Crossings
Pelican Crossings are light controlled.

They have a flashing amber phase. This means that you can drive on if the crossing is clear.

Puffin Crossings
Puffin Crossings are light controlled.

They are sensor controlled. They can detect when pedestrians are crossing so, if pedestrians cross quickly, lights change sooner.

Toucan Crossings
Toucan Crossings are light controlled.

These are crossings shared with pedestrians and cyclists, so cyclists can ride across the road.

Equestrian Crossings
Equestrian Crossings are light controlled.

These crossings are for horse riders. The crossing is wider and the buttons are higher up.

School Crossings
Two sets of flashing amber lights may give an advance warning of a school crossing ahead.

You must give way to the ‘lollipop lady / man’ on duty.