Before you go out

Try not to go out unless you are fit and able to carry out your journey safely.

Do not go out if you are under the influence of drink or drugs. Wear glasses or a hearing aid when out on the road if you need them.

Always wear or carry something white or light-coloured or reflective in the dark or in poor light. This is particularly important on roads without pavements. Reflective material can be seen in headlights from up to three times the distance of ordinary clothes; fluorescent material is highly conspicuous in daylight and at dusk but is of little use in the dark.

Out and about

You must take proper care not to put yourself or any other person into danger. If you understand and follow the rules and advice in this chapter then you will use the roads safely.

Where there is a pavement or footpath, use it. Do not step onto, stand or walk on the roadway if at all possible. When using the pavement keep away from the kerb. Try not to walk close to the kerb with your back to the traffic.

Look out for entrances and exits of driveways. Before crossing a driveway, look all around for approaching traffic and listen. If there is no approaching traffic likely to use the entrance or driveway then carry on. Do not loiter in a driveway but walk straight across it.

You must not enter or walk in a 'Tunnel area'. Traffic signs mark the beginning and end of a 'Tunnel area'.

You must not enter or walk within the boundaries of an 'Expressway' and 'Light rail' area. Traffic signs will be erected to mark the start and end points of an 'Expressway' and 'Light rail' area.

Road Sign

You must not walk past a traffic sign banning pedestrians or walk in the road to which the ban applies. These signs are often found near elevated roads, flyovers and underpasses. Even if there is no sign do not walk along such roads unless there is a specially provided pavement.

Road Sign

Walking at night

When walking at night try and keep to the pavement areas with the best street lighting.

At night, although you can see the headlights of a vehicle often the driver cannot see you. When the road surface is wet and shiny, reflections and glare can make it even more difficult for the driver.

Drivers become tired more easily at night and their abilities to concentrate and see decline. Pedestrians also lose their ability to judge the speed and distance of approaching traffic.

There is a tendency at night for drivers to be momentarily and partially blinded by the headlights of approaching vehicles. This means, for example, that it is even more dangerous to stand on the roadway between traffic lanes at night than in the daytime.

When it rains

Visibility is cut down by rain. It helps if your raincoat, other clothes and umbrella are of a light, bright colour that show up easily on rainy or foggy days.

Road surfaces become slippery when it rains. Braking and stopping distances of cars and other vehicles increase and so they cannot stop quickly. You are also more likely to slip.

Elderly people

Eyesight and hearing deteriorate throughout adult life but judgement improves with experience. However as you get older this experience is not enough and you will need to allow more time to cross the road safely to overcome poorer judgement, slower movements and less ability to avoid the unexpected.

Where there is no pavement

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If there is no pavement on either side of the road, use the right hand side of the road as much as possible, and if practicable keep off the roadway and walk on the verge.

If it is necessary to stand or walk on the roadway then do so in a position where you can see the approach of traffic and where approaching drivers can see you. On a normal two-way road this is the right-hand side facing oncoming traffic.

Keep as close as possible to the side of the road. When walking with others keep in single file if possible, particularly in heavy traffic or in poor visibility, but do not walk more than two side by side. Take care at right-hand bends and on the brow of a hill.

Walk on the side of the road where you can take refuge by stepping off the road if traffic comes. If this means walking with your back to the traffic then keep looking behind you to watch out for traffic and keep listening at all times. Make sure approaching drivers can see you.

 Closed pavements

Road Sign

If the pavement is closed or blocked due to works, then look out for temporary signs or alternative routes.

If there is no alternative to the pavement and you have to step onto the roadway then you should follow the advice for walking on roads. If the blockage or closure is for a long distance then cross to the other side of the road using the Road Crossing Code, although if the obstruction is only for a short distance it may be safer to walk on the road, even though this means walking with the traffic.

Do not step onto the road without looking all around for traffic; watch for traffic from behind you. Return to the open pavement quickly.

Routes used by cyclists and pedestrians

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If there is a footway and cycleway side by side then you must not use the cycleway. Walk only on the footway well away from the edge of the cycleway. Look out for cyclists if you need to step onto or cross the cycleway. ( See page 35 for information on the traffic signs and road markings used to mark a combined footway and cycleway.)

Emergency vehicles

Keep off the roadway if you see or hear the approach of ambulances, fire engines, police or other emergency vehicles with their lights flashing or their two-tone horns or sirens sounding. If crossing the road try to complete your crossing as soon as possible or return to the pavement or side of the road. Do not start to cross until you are sure that all the emergency vehicles have passed and no more are coming. Emergency vehicles may not follow all the rules or obey all the traffic signs and signals if life is at risk.

Outside fire stations and other places housing emergency vehicles there may be special traffic lights which can be switched on in an emergency to stop the traffic and allow vehicles to leave. When the two red lights are flashing, stop and wait before crossing the driveway in front of the station.