Walking and Not Getting Killed in Prague
The dangers waiting for a Prague pedestrian
While walking in the streets of Prague can be very romantic and breathtaking, it can also sometimes get you into dangerous situations. We’re talking about Prague traffic. Like most other big cities Prague has lots of cars in the streets and at the same time lots of pedestrians who need to cross the streets.
Czech drivers in general are not among the best in the world and the rates of car accidents are not something the Czechs are proud of. Prague drivers are among the worst Czech drivers, as they are usually stressed and in a rush (and some of them have big cars and even bigger egos). This is magnified by the dense traffic, especially in peak hours of working days.
Being defensive is key to survival
The golden rule of both driving and walking applies in Prague as anywhere else: Assume that the other people are bad and stupid and expect them to fail giving you priority even when they should. Be defensive.
Pedestrian crossings in Prague
If you are a pedestrian and want to cross a street in Prague, do it on a marked crossing, but still watch out twice and rather expect the car that is approaching will not stop and let you go. Trying to make eye contact with the driver before you enter the crossing is advisable. You should keep in mind that direct confrontation with a car is rarely won by the pedestrian.
Though you would have to be extremely unlucky to get fined by police for crossing on a red light, doing so is not advisable for safety reasons. Even when the signal is green, watch out and don’t go blindly.
Priority of trams in Prague
When you are a pedestrian, tram is the only vehicle in Prague that is not obliged to let you cross the street on a marked pedestrian crossing (not counting the obvious situations like a police car or an ambulance). Do not jump there in front of a tram. Note that breaking distance of a tram is much longer than that of a car and it can take as much as 200 metres for a tram to stop.
Common sense? Yes, but very important
I know that almost everything in this article is true for all other cities as well and nothing really new for you. But when you live in Prague, you see dangerous traffic situations on a daily basis. Don’t let a bad driver ruin your holiday. The good news it that there are hardly any cars in the very centre of the Old Town, near Prague Castle, or on the Charles Bridge.