One of the most important ways to prevent accidents on the roads is by maintaining a safe environment. That includes proper signage, roads that are kept in good repair, and high-quality pedestrian crossing signals.

One such crossing signal was recently activated in the John’s Creek community, which is approximately 30 miles from Atlanta, Georgia. It is a HAWK pedestrian crossing signal. HAWK stands for High-Intensity Activated crosswalk. It was installed close to Barnwell Elementary School.

A HAWK signal is a push-button signal. Instead of being placed at an intersection, it is placed mid-block. Georgia law already requires motorists to stop before any crosswalk on which pedestrians are crossing. HAWK signals are intended to further balance the needs of motorists and pedestrians.

They are becoming progressively more popular in Georgia. HAWK signals, usually installed in pairs, are dark when not in use. They are activated when a pedestrian pushes the button.

When they do, a bright yellow light begins to flash on and off, which tells drivers to slow down. A red hand tells pedestrians that it is not safe to walk yet.

After that, the yellow light stops flashing and becomes solid yellow instead. Pedestrians should keep waiting at that point. The next thing that happens is that the red lights on the crossing signal turn red, telling drivers to stop. Pedestrians will then see the light image of a walking man, letting them know that they may cross legally.

Finally, the red lights start to flash, telling drivers they can go again once the pedestrian has reached the other side of the road. A flashing red hand will also appear, telling pedestrians to hurry up. A numerical countdown will tell them how long they have. The hope is that HAWK signals like these can save lives.

Source: Johns Creek Patch, “Johns Creek Activates HAWK Pedestrian Crossing Signal,” Kristal Dixon, Dec. 11, 2015