On average, 36 pedestrians are killed and 1000 pedestrians are injured on New Zealand roads every year.

Many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented if drivers took more care when using our roads. Please look out for pedestrians whenever you’re behind the wheel.

Pedestrian safety for drivers

  • Always be ready to stop near schools, bus stops and pedestrian crossings.
  • Be careful when driving past parked vehicles. Pedestrians may walk out without warning.
  • Slow down to 20km/h when passing or coming towards a school bus that’s stopped to let children on or off, no matter which side of the road you’re on.
  • Watch out for elderly people or people with disabilities.
  • Take care near roadside stalls and parked vendors. Pedestrians visiting these may forget to watch for traffic when crossing the road.

Pedestrian crossings

A pedestrian crossing is an area of road that has white stripes marked across it. It’s used by pedestrians and people using mobility devices, such as motorised wheelchairs, as well as skateboards and foot-propelled scooters.

Some crossings have raised islands in the middle where pedestrians can stop. These help pedestrians cross wide, 2-way roads or multi-lane roads.

As you drive towards a pedestrian crossing, you’ll see pedestrian crossing signs before the crossing and black and white poles at the crossing. The poles have fluorescent orange disks or round yellow lights that flash at night. White diamonds are generally painted on the road before the crossing and a white limit line shows you where to stop.

When coming up to pedestrian crossings:

  • slow down and be ready to stop for any pedestrians on or stepping onto the crossing – this also includes people obviously waiting to use the crossing
  • if there's no raised traffic island in the middle of the crossing, stop and give way to pedestrians on any part of the crossing
  • wait until the pedestrian has crossed in front of you and is clear of your vehicle before you proceed.

If you’re in a queue of traffic near a pedestrian crossing, don’t move onto the crossing if there isn’t enough room for your vehicle on the other side of the crossing.

A blue car is stopped behind a white line in front of a pedestrian crossing. A pedestrian is crossing the road.

Pedestrian crossing

A blue car is driving northbound in the left lane while a pedestrian crosses at the pedestrian crossing in the right lane. There is a raised island in the middle of the pedestrian crossing.

Pedestrian crossing with raised island

If there's a raised traffic island in the middle of the crossing, stop and give way to pedestrians on your half of the road


Never overtake a vehicle that's slowing down for a pedestrian crossing.

Courtesy crossings

Although not official pedestrian crossings, courtesy crossings provide a safe place for people to cross. You should be courteous to people using a courtesy crossing.

 A brown strip crosses the road horizontally, marking where to cross the road. Two pedestrians are crossing here while a blue and white car wait on either side.

Shared zone

This is a road designed to slow traffic and give priority to pedestrians. Drivers give way to pedestrians who, in turn, should not hold up traffic.

School crossing

School crossings, also known as kea crossings, provide a safe place for children to cross the road. They generally only operate before and after school.

When school crossings are operating, a fluorescent orange children sign will be displayed, along with a school patrol stop sign, which swings out into the road.

When the school patrol stop sign is out, vehicles coming from both directions must stop until all signs have been pulled in. 




Things to know about children 

  • Children aren't little adults, so don’t expect them to act like adults.
  • Children, especially those under the age of 9, may not have the skills and abilities needed to be safe in traffic. Be very careful when driving near them.
  • Young children have narrow vision and may not see vehicles as easily as adults do.
  • Children have trouble judging the speed of moving vehicles. They may let a slow vehicle pass and try to cross in front of a fast one.
  • Children often don’t understand that it takes time for a vehicle to stop.
  • Children may have difficulty working out where sounds are coming from.
  • Because children are small, they often can’t see over bushes and parked vehicles. This also means they can’t be seen easily by drivers.
  • Children may have trouble stopping at a kerb and could dart out into traffic.
  • Children can freeze when they find themselves in danger, instead of taking quick action as an adult might.

Keep a lookout for children at all times. Take special care when driving during 8–9am and 3–4pm, when children are travelling to and from school.

Blind and vision-impaired pedestrians

People who are blind or vision-impaired often use aids such as a white cane or a guide dog. When you see people with these aids trying to cross the road, take extra care and let them cross in their own time.

When entering and leaving driveways

When you drive across a footpath, such as going in and out of a driveway or supermarket carpark, you must give way to people using the footpath.

When leaving a driveway you must give way to vehicles using the road.