How to keep pedestrians safe and be a better driver

Elderly pedestrians step out onto crossing, day.

Published 9 April 2021
Last updated 26 April 2021

This blog explains why knowing The Highway Code, talking to your instructor and understanding traffic signs all help you to drive safely near pedestrians.

Hello! This week we’re going to start with rule 205 of The Highway Code:

'There is a risk of pedestrians, especially children, stepping unexpectedly into the road. You should drive with the safety of children in mind at a speed suitable for the conditions.'

Stating the obvious

Sounds obvious, right? Well, before you start groaning and rolling your eyes, have a look at this:

Official government figures show that pedestrian fatalities increased from 448 in 2016 to 470 in 2017 (DfT statistics report PDF).

Makes grim reading, doesn’t it? And there’s more bad news:

Between 2007 and 2017 there were 23,805 pedestrian casualties and 25% of them were under 15 years old.

The truth is that it’s easy to assume that everyone is following the rules, but the facts tell a different story.

Step change

Having told you all the bad stuff, it’s high time we gave some good news: YOU can do your bit to protect pedestrians and make the roads safer for all of us.

To help you on your way, we’ve written a few simple steps

  1. Make sure you read The Highway Code. Rules 204 to 210 will give you all the good stuff about dealing with pedestrians, but do not stop there. You should have as good an understanding of the whole Highway Code rules as you possibly can.
  2. If you’re worried about driving near pedestrians (or any aspect of learning to drive), then talk to your instructor. You will not be the first learner to feel nervous, so make sure you use your lesson to improve your skills and confidence. For those of you who’ve passed your test,* The Official DVSA Guide to Better Driving can help. It’s packed with exercises that will help you manage anxiety and drive with confidence. For a great example of how Better Driving can help you, read this.
  3. Understand the tricky bits. Driving safely near pedestrians is not just a matter of scanning the road for hazards or driving well within the speed limits. You need to know and understand your road signs, too. They’ll give you a heads up about what you can expect from the road ahead. They’re also a major part of the theory test – so get revising! If you’re feeling stuck, Know Your Traffic Signs can help you out. You’ll also find some pure gold tips on this blog post about 'crossings'.

Next steps

Following our 3-step plan will give you a great start, but it’s not the whole story. For more advice, check out Driving the Essential Skills.

That’s all for now – see you next time!

*It’s also useful if you’re learning to drive …

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