How to Cross the Street in the USA

Posted On: June 13, 2015

If you are coming to the US for work for for a long-term expat assignment, there’s a lot to learn to get adjusted. One of the things you will probably need to learn fast is how to cross the street in the USA. I have chosen several different videos from YouTube to demonstrate this. Note the commentary that accompanies each video.

How to Use the Cross Walk
When approaching a cross walk in a town or city, first press the button on the walk signal post. Wait for the walk signal, look left, then right, then cross. Only cross in the cross walk, and not diagonally. 

This short video shows how to use a cross walk as a pedestrian and how drivers should respect the crosswalk.

Walking in the USA

Look Both Ways Before Crossing
In this Public Service Announcement (PSA), we learn the importance of looking left, right, then left again before crossing the street. Maybe for those from India seeing this, you may find it strange because the road on the video looks totally empty. The lesson here, is even when the road is totally empty, still look both ways, cross in a cross walk and follow all the rules. People travel much faster on roads in the US than in India. A car can approach you at lightening speed on such roads, and you would be in trouble if caught crossing the road when one of these vehicles come and find it hard to stop.

What Not To Do in a Cross Walk
While it is important to use the cross walk, because crossing outside of a cross walk is called jaywalking and is a ticket-able offense in some areas, make sure you use the cross walk appropriately. I liked that this video shows the importance of crossing the street all at once in a straight line. Sometimes, in other countries, crossing the street in a diagonal fashion is acceptable or meandering around vehicles is also acceptable (as in India). Make sure that you also look both ways (look left first, then right) before crossing. Don’t cross without looking!

Steps to Cross the Street
In the US, cars drive on the roads much faster than in India. It’s important to keep certain steps in mind while crossing the street to keep you and your family safe. This video, which is made to help kids cross the street safely is a good tutorial even for adults coming to the US for the first time.

School Bus Safety
Teaching your children how to cross the street to get on a school bus is an important thing to do, especially in the last year when so many accidents have happened. In addition to crossing the street, it’s important to understand as a motorist that if you are approaching a bus with it’s flashing yellow or red lights and it’s stop sign protruding, that you must also stop. Do not pass a stopped bus with it’s lights on or stop sign sticking out at any time! In all states motorists that fail to stop can be ticketed, heavily fined or even jailed! For more about moving violations, click here


Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director of Authentic Journeys prepares expats and international assignees for onsite success while in the US through innovative and interactive cross-cultural lifestyle and business training.

Related Posts: 
Traffic Rules for NRIs in the USA  
What is the “Back to School” Season in America?

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