General tips for safe walking

  • Use pedestrian crossings or cross at traffic signals.
  • Check for moving vehicles at every driveway.
  • Walk on the footpath if there is one.
  • Hold hands if walking with a young child near roads or in carparks.
  • Be courteous when you’re travelling faster than those around you (eg if you’re in a wheelchair, running, riding a scooter or skateboard, or skating). When passing others on the footpath, leave enough room that you don’t scare them or put them in danger.

Crossing the road

When there’s no pedestrian crossing

  • Be patient and cross the road only when it’s safe to do so (it takes time for a vehicle to stop)
  • Then use the kerb drill:
    1. Stop one step back from the kerb.
    2. Look and listen for traffic coming from all directions.
    3. If there is traffic coming, wait until it has passed and then look and listen for traffic again.
    4. If there is no traffic coming, walk quickly straight across the road.
    5. While crossing, look and listen for traffic, wherever it may come from.

When using a pedestrian crossing

  • Use official crossings where possible – in fact, if you’re within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing, the law requires you to use it.
  • Check that approaching drivers have seen you and can stop before you step out.
  • Cross as quickly as you are able.
  • For crossings with signals, only cross when the green person or message shows.

Watch out for courtesy crossings

  • A courtesy crossing may be made of other materials like bricks or pavers.
  • Use these crossings with care because drivers don’t have to stop for pedestrians at courtesy crossings.

Crossing at intersections

Follow the same tips listed above under ‘when there’s no pedestrian crossing’ and be sure to choose a place where you can see, and be seen by, drivers from all directions.

Crossing between parked cars

Crossing between parked cars should be your last option. It is safer to walk a little further to get to a clear stretch of road. If you do cross between parked cars: 

  • Stop on the footpath and look carefully for a gap between two parked vehicles which don’t show signs that they might move off (eg they don’t have drivers, exhaust fumes, engine noises, lights)
  • If you can’t see inside either vehicle choose another gap
  • Make sure you have a safe place to go on the other side of the road (eg a place that is not blocked by a driveway or parked vehicles)
  • Walk to the outside (headlight) corner of the parked vehicle and stop where you can see the traffic, and drivers can see you before you cross.

Walking where there are no footpaths

  • Walk facing the oncoming traffic.
  • Keep as far off the road as possible.
  • Walk in single file – if in a group, the shortest child should be at the front and tallest at the back so everyone can see.

The official New Zealand road code has more tips on how to stay safe when walking.

Using shared paths

All users on shared paths are required by law to use shared paths fairly and safely. When passing others, leave enough room that you don’t scare them or put them in danger.

The official New Zealand road code has more information about using a shared path.