Although the majority of road users are in cars, there’s a lot who aren’t, from lorry drivers, through cyclists and pedestrians to horse riders and many more. Today we’re going to take a look at how drivers can be aware and considerate of these road users, as well as what they can do to keep themselves safe.

There are six groups we’re going to look at: Lorry drivers, bus drivers and users, tractors, cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, as these are the main road users other than cars on UK roads.

Lorry Driver:

How to Drive a Lorry Safely:

In order to drive a lorry you will need to pass additional tests to your standard driving licence, and before you take these will need to do training with a qualified instructor. This will give you training on the things you need to be aware of for driving a larger vehicle, but we’ve rounded up a couple of the key points:

  • Be aware of traffic going into your blind spots and check these regularly and before making any manoeuvres. In particular, be aware of smaller road users like cyclists and horse riders.
  • Your vehicle will be larger and heavier than a lot of other vehicles on the road and so braking will take you longer, which means you should leave a larger space between you and traffic in front of you.
  • Be aware of your position on the road, and don’t go into cycle lanes or over into the right lane where avoidable. When turning be conscious of any other road users and the wider turning circle in a lorry.

How to Drive Safely Around Lorries:

  • Be aware of their blind spots. Lorry drivers have a larger blind spot which they will not see you in.
  • Give them plenty of space when they are turning and at roundabouts as they have a wider turning circle.
  • Be aware that lorries on UK roads may be from Europe which have a left-hand drive cab, you can usually recognise these from the number plate. If they have a left-hand drive cab then the driver will be sitting on the left side of the vehicle and so their blind spots will be different. 
  • Leave a wider gap between you if you are driving behind a lorry as the closer you are the less chance there is the lorry driver has seen you, and you cannot usually see past them if you are following closely for any potential upcoming hazards.  

Bus Drivers and Users:

Buses are a common sight on UK roads and so most drivers are used to making room for them. We’re going to recap some of the main rules for driving near a bus.

Driving a Bus Safely:

You will need to pass four tests to get a CPC if driving a bus, coach or lorry is the main part of your job unless you have acquired rights because of driving experience.

You can see all the governments’ guidelines on how to become a qualified bus driver here.

The training and tests you go through in order to obtain the licence will teach you all you need to know about driving a bus safely.

Driving Safely Around a Bus:

  • You should never drive in a bus lane during its operating hours.
  • Do not use a bus stop to park or if you are stopping to let someone in / out of the vehicle, as you then become a hazard to other drivers if the bus cannot use the stop.
  • Be aware of any buses pulling out from bus stops to rejoin the flow of traffic. As per the Highway Code, you should give priority to them when they signal to pull out, provided it is safe to do so.  
  • If you are near a stopped bus be aware that there may be passengers getting off the vehicle and looking to cross the road, who you may not be able to see around the bus.


Tractors appear on UK roads a lot during harvest time, moving between fields, and sporadically throughout the rest of the year. So, it’s important for drivers, especially those who are likely to be driving in rural areas, to be aware of then and how to drive safely around them.

In order to drive a tractor you will usually need to hold a valid UK driving licence at least. Anyone who passes a UK driving test for a category B vehicle (the standard driving test) will be able to drive a category F agricultural tractor on the road. If the tractor is used for any other purpose then you may need to pass an additional test.

Although you are legally able to drive a tractor on the road when you have passed your driving test we recommend using the vehicle on private land or roads before going onto the road with other traffic.

If you are 16 years old you can pass a tractor test with the DVLA so that you can drive a tractor a year earlier than a car but there are additional restrictions.

Again, there is a section of Highway Code that applies to driving a tractor that you should look at before taking one onto the road.

How to Stay Safe Driving a Tractor:

  • Pulling over when a large queue of vehicles forms behind you when there is a safe location to do so, allowing all the other vehicles to pass by safely before pulling back out onto the road.
  • Keep to speed limits.
  • No children under the age of 13 are allowed as passengers if there is a passenger seat in the vehicle.

How to Drive Safely Around a Tractor:

  • Drive slowly and keep your distance.
  • You might be tempted to speed up and overtake a tractor – don’t. Unless you can clearly see the other side of the road and it is safe to do so.


In recent years we’ve seen cities across the UK making more provisions for cyclists to promote it as an alternative, greener way of travelling. Cycle lanes are particularly useful for encouraging cyclists onto our roads because they allow cyclists who are less confident in traffic to have a little more space between themselves and other vehicles.

However, a cycle lane is not always available, and cyclists should not ride on footpaths so we’ve rounded up some of our top safety advice for staying safe when cycling on the roads below.

How to Stay Safe on a Bicycle:

  • Wear a helmet, that conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened.
  • Make sure any clothing you wear is not likely to get caught in your wheels or chain.
  • Wear light coloured / florescent clothing in the day and at night wear reflective clothing or accessories to help you be seen.
  • Use a cycle track / lane where available. You should still be aware of pedestrians or other road users even if you are on a dedicated cycle route.
  • Use cycle boxes and advance stop lanes, but do not move off from a traffic signal until the green light shows.
  • At night you must use lights. You should have a white light on the front of your bike and a red one at the back. You can use flashing lights but it is recommended in areas where there is no street lights you use a steady front light.
  • Your bike should have a red rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors. White reflectors on the front of the bike and spokes are also recommended but not required.
  • Keep both hands on the handlebars unless signalling or changing gear.
  • Keep both feet on pedals.
  • Don’t ride more than two side by side, and ride in single file on busy roads or round corners.
  • Don’t ride close to other vehicles, or hang onto another vehicle.
  • Leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles and be aware of any doors that might open.
  •  Don’t carry a passenger unless your bicycle has been modified to do so, for example with a childseat on the rear.
  • Don’t ride under the influence of drink, or drugs including medicine.
  • Be careful when turning, especially when crossing the lane so you can turn right.
  • Keep left on a roundabout, even when turning right, and indicate right if you are remaining on the roundabout so that other road users know you do not intend to leave.
  • Do not ride across Pegasus, pelican, puffin or zebra crossings. You should dismount and walk your bicycle across the road at these types of crossings.

We mentioned about signalling above. It’s important for cyclists and drivers to know the correct signals that cyclists should use.

The below images show a motorcycle but the signals are the same for bicycles.

When turning left:

Image sourced:

When turning right:

Image sourced:

When slowing down or stopping:

Image sourced:

How to Drive Safely Around Cyclists:

  • Always double check your mirror / blind spot for any cyclists when making manoeuvres, as they are smaller they are not as easy to see as some other road users.
  • Check for any cyclists before opening your doors when stopped.
  • Give them space. Whether you’re following or safely overtaking a cyclist you should always allow plenty of room.
  • Drive at appropriate speeds when following or overtaking a cyclist. This will help you give them enough space as well.
  • Drivers should be aware of the cyclists’ road signals mentioned above so you know what they intend to do.
  • Respect cycle lanes. Don’t park in them, use them as additional space or stop in the cycle box when at traffic lights.
  • Don’t get annoyed if they don’t hug the kerb, cyclists are trained not to do this so that they are more visible and to avoid drains that can cause accidents.


Pedestrians made up 26 % of trips in England according to the 2019 National Travel Survey. This was the second-highest group after cars and highlights why road safety for pedestrians is so important.

The Department for Transport recently published the reported road casualty statistics for 2019, and these show that there were 21,700 pedestrian casualties last year. Although this is a decrease from the previous year, year on year statistics over the past five years show that the percentage that pedestrians makes up of the overall road casualties has risen and is currently at 14%. Pedestrian fatalities also rose slightly in 2019 to 470 deaths.

We’re going to look at both how pedestrians can stay safe and how drivers can help keep them safe, but before we do there are a number of different crossings in the UK that pedestrians, drivers and other road users should be aware of.

These include:

Zebra Crossings:

Image sourced:

A zebra crossing does not have traffic lights. It is marked by beacon lights on each side and large white lines on the road, creating a zebra-like pattern of stripes. Pedestrians have the right of way at these crossings but if you are crossing you should always check both ways and make sure any approaching vehicles have seen you and are stopping before crossing.

Image sourced:

If there is an island in the middle of the zebra crossing then this turns it into two separate crossings over the road. If you are crossing you should always check that the vehicles have stopped on the second side before crossing. If you are driving and approach a zebra crossing with an island in the middle, you need to stop if a pedestrian is approaching your side of the crossing.

Tiger Crossings:

A tiger crossing is like a zebra crossing but with an additional cycle lane. This gives cyclists the same rights as pedestrians crossing the road.

The name comes from the early crossing yellow paint on black tarmac that resembled tiger stripes.

Pelican Crossings:

Image sourced:

A pelican crossing is one with traffic lights that are operated by pedestrians who push a control button to activate the lights and make it safe for them to cross.

The lights for pedestrians on this type of crossing are on the other side of the road, so you can see them as you cross. When a red light shows for pedestrians they should not cross. If you are approaching a crossing and the green figure begins to flash then you should not start to cross as you would not have time to finish crossing before the signals change. If you have already started to cross by the time the green man starts flashing then you should have time to complete the crossing. If the green figure is steady and not flashing then you can cross and should have time to get to the other side before the lights change.

If you are driving and approaching a pelican crossing then you should be aware of any pedestrians waiting to cross as this indicates that the lights may change before you reach them. If the signal turns amber or is red then you should stop. If a pedestrian is crossing the road and the signal begins to change back to amber or green you should still wait until they reach the pavement again before driving.

Puffin Crossings:

Puffing crossings are similar to pelican crossings as they are also signal lights operated by pedestrians when they want to cross.

On a puffin crossing the direction figures are on your side of the road above the control button. There is just a red figure that shows when you should not cross and a green one for when it is safe to.

Drivers approaching a puffin crossing should again be aware of any pedestrians waiting to cross as this indicates that the lights may change before you reach them. If the signal turns amber or is red then you should stop.

Toucan Crossings:

 Image sourced:

Toucan crossings are again traffic light controlled crossings, but these are designed to allow cyclists and pedestrians to share crossing space and cross at the same time.

These are operated by the pedestrian or cyclist pushing a button to change the signals and allow them to cross safely when traffic has stopped.

Cyclists are permitted to ride across this type of crossing, unlike others which they are advised they should walk across.

Pegasus / Equestrian Crossings:

Image sourced:

Equestrian crossings, which are also known as Pegasus crossings, are designed for horse riders.

They have pavement barriers, a wider crossing space and the direction lights for those crossing also show a horse and rider figure. There is also either two sets of controls, with one higher so that horse riders can reach it without dismounting, or just one higher set of controls. Like other signal operated crossings pedestrians and riders should wait until there is a green figure before crossing.

Staggered Pelican or Puffin Crossings:

Image sourced:

Staggered pelican or puffin crossings are when the crossing on each side of a central refuge, or island, are not in line with each other. This means they are two separate crossings.

For pedestrians, this means that they will need to stop and push a second button at the central island to wait for the signal to change before crossing that side of the road.

For drivers, if you are approaching a staggered pelican or puffin crossing and it shows a green light for you then you can continue, even if there are pedestrians crossing on the other side of the road.

How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian:

In the UK there are a number of rules in the Highway Code including the Green Cross Code that are for pedestrians. Some of these included:

  • Use a pavement where there’s one available.
  • Where there’s no pavement and you have to walk on the road, do so on the right so you are facing oncoming traffic. Unless in a large organised group walk, when you should walk on the left and wear florescent clothing / lights depending on your position in the group.
  • Help others see you by wearing something light, bright or reflective at any time. At night you should always wear something reflective.
  • Adhere to the Green Cross Code and ensure your children are aware of and adhere to this as well.
  • Cross in designated crossings where possible and always be aware of the traffic in case a driver does not spot you. Follow the rules for each crossing type when using them.
  • Where there are pedestrian safety barriers between the path and road only use the designated gaps to cross and do not walk between the barrier and the road.
  • Take extra care where footpaths and cycle paths run next to each other or are on a shared route.

How Drivers Can Help Keep Pedestrians Safe:

There are also sections of the Highway Code that cover how drivers should act around pedestrians. We’ve coupled this with some of our own advice on how you can help keep pedestrians safe.

  • Go slow in highly pedestrianised areas, especially in areas, like around a school, where there are likely to be a lot of children, who aren’t always as aware when crossing.
  • Be patient with slower pedestrians and do not pressure them when they are crossing the road.
  • Observe all crossing rules, including not blocking a crossing when in queuing traffic.
  • Don’t make assumptions if the car in front of you stops, this could be to let a pedestrian cross so don’t just overtake them without looking for any potential hazards or pedestrians they have stoped for.
  • Take the weather into account, it might be harder to spot a pedestrian in bad weather.

Horse Riders:

We mentioned earlier about Pegasus crossings which are useful when you want to cross the road if you are using a bridleway. However, these are not always in place.

How to Stay Safe as a Horse Rider:

We’ve had a look at some other ways that you can stay safe while riding if you have to go onto the road.

  • You should always wear a hard hat that conforms to the current standards.
  • You should wear hi-vis clothing to help you be seen by motorists. There’s a range of products available for cyclists including; helmet covers, tabards, waistcoats, arm bands, jodhpurs and jackets.
  • Ensure your horse’s tack is fitted correctly and if possible, use some kind of hi-vis tack on your horse so that they are easily spotted if you fall. There’s a range of hi-vis equipment available for horses as well, like exercise sheets, leg bands, fly veils or tail bandages.
  • Most riders will do road safety training with their stables or riding instructor before being allowed onto the road. If you feel nervous about going onto a road with other traffic you should make any instructor with you aware and they will be able to go over the guidelines with you. The British Horse Society (BHS) operates a riding and road safety test as well.
  • Riders should not ride on footpaths. Instead, they can ride on grass verges where they are available, and it’s not prohibited by local by-law, or on the road close to the kerb on the left-hand side.
  • A maximum of two riders are allowed side by side. This is recommended if one of the riders or horses is young or inexperienced, with them being the closest to the kerb. It may be required that you ride in single file when traffic approaches.
  • You should keep a gap of about a horse’s length between yourself and any rider in front / behind you.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings, looking behind you regularly and keeping an ear out for any hazards that may startle your horse.
  • Keep your whip in the hand that remains on the reins when signalling if you are turning.

Rules 49 to 55 of the Highway Code also apply to horse riders, most of which are covered in the points above but you can see the rules here.

How Drivers Can Help Keep Horse Riders Safe:

We recently posted about driving safely around animals for National Badger Day which included horse riders.

Our top tips for drivers around animals, including horse riders, includes

  • Give them lots of room, keeping your distance if you are following a horse rider, stay wide when passing and then make sure you can see them in your rearview mirror so you don’t come back in front of them too close.
  • Drive slowly, this gives you plenty of time to react if the animal is spooked, and you’re less likely to startle them without a revving engine.
  • Turn down your radio, or even mute it, until you have passed the animal as the noise could spook them.
  • Be extra careful at night as a lot of UK wildlife is nocturnal, don’t drive too fast and use your full beam where possible to help you see animals in the dark as early as possible.

We hope you’ve found our tips helpful for staying safe on the roads and keeping other road users safe as well. If you have any tips or suggestions of your own let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Comment

Enter the text you see in the image in the form field above.
If you cannot read the text, refresh the page.
* required fields

Peace of Mind

Check out one of our helpful guides or our explaination of leasing to get all your questions answered.

View our FAQsGuides

Latest News

Get the latest news and blog posts from us.

View all News

Your Guide To Car Leasing

You can unsubscribe at any time

Lease Plan