Crossing Procedures for a Variety of Situations

Recommended procedures are described below for an adult school crossing guard to follow when crossing children in a variety of traffic situations. The information was compiled from the Arizona Handbook for Adult School Crossing Guards, the Florida School Crossing Guard Training Guidelines and the North Carolina School Crossing Guard Program: Training Manual (See Resources section.)

State Street School, Windsor, VT

Procedures are described for guards in situations at unsignalized crosswalks and signalized crosswalks, when two or more adult school crossing guards are needed, and when an emergency arises. Some intersection configurations, including T-intersections, roundabouts or free-flow right turn lanes, require that the local committee consider these unique situations when establishing the procedure for crossing children.

In every situation, a guard uses the proper search pattern for crossing a street and encourages student pedestrians to follow these safety steps. This pattern is:

  1. Stop at the curb or edge of the street.
  2. Look left, right, then left again for traffic.
  3. Look over the shoulder for possible turning vehicles if the pedestrian is standing at an intersection.
  4. Walk directly across the street at a consistent pace and continue scanning the street while crossing the street.

For stopping motorists, the MUTCD recommends that an adult school crossing guard use a STOP paddle as the primary hand-signaling device. However, many jurisdictions around the country allow guards to use clearly delivered hand signals, alone or in conjunction with the STOP paddle, to alert traffic to activity at school crossings. The proper hand signal for a guard to alert and stop traffic requires a guard to raise his or her arm forward and toward traffic, and parallel to the ground with the palm and fingers flexed upward. The use of hand signals requires a higher level of training than the use of STOP paddles, and guards using hand signals will benefit from wearing white or bright orange gloves to attract drivers' attention.

The traffic situations covered include: