You stare blankly at the opposite side of the road, waiting for the traffic lights to turn before you can cross the zebra crossing. You come across another one, this time without traffic lights to signal you to cross. You waited patiently until traffic is clear, before dashing across.
You’ve probably used the zebra crossings like the above. Yet, it would have slipped your mind that you just came across two completely different coloured zebra crossings, a yellow and a white. Both serve the same purpose, yet slightly different and now you know.
White Zebra Crossing
When we conjure up an image of a zebra crossing, chances are we’d picture a black and white. The function of a white zebra crossing is to let drivers know that they must stop and give way to pedestrians who are crossing it.
Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. You’d notice that most white zebra crossings have no traffic lights accompanying it, which can make crossing them a challenge. A study done by MIROS showed that 74% of drivers do not give way to pedestrians at zebra crossings especially in the absence of traffic signal.
Therefore, it will be up to the pedestrian to when it’s safe to cross. However, once a pedestrian is already crossing a white zebra crossing, drivers must stop to give pedestrians the right of way.
Yellow Zebra Crossing
The yellow zebra crossing is a little different. It’s still there for the pedestrian to cross the street, but what makes it different from the white zebra crossing is that it’s on a first come first serve basis.
How the yellow zebra crossing works depends on who is closest to it. If the pedestrian is closer, then the driver must give them the priority to cross, and vice versa if the car is closer to the line then the pedestrian would have to wait it out.
Fortunately, most yellow zebra crossings are accompanied by traffic lights, which makes crossing it less of a hassle as compared to its white counterpart.
It goes without saying that the road is a dangerous place, while zebra crossings help pedestrians cross the road safely, safety should not be taken for granted and pedestrians must be vigilant when crossing the road. As for drivers, we highly urge that you slow down when coming up to a zebra crossing regardless if it’s white or yellow.
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