RELATABLE CONTENT: A landmark new report has shed light on why people cross the road, with some surprising findings.

The report, by the Pedestrian Council of Australia, shows that almost 20% of people crossing the street are doing so purely to avoid people they know.

“Often I see people I know walking toward me on the same footpath, so I’ll quickly cross the road so I don’t have to say hello,” one survey participant told DBT.

“It works particularly well for work colleagues and family friends. If they try to say hi while I’m crossing over, then it’s obviously too late for me to come back to talk.”

Those employing the tactic say it can save them up to an hour of awkward small talk per week.

“Sometimes I’ll cross the same street 5 times in 30 minutes – just to avoid people,” says another man.

But road safety experts say it can be risky.

“Suddenly walking out onto busy streets just to avoid people can be a pedestrian safety hazard,” says the Pedestrian Council of Australia.

“We need to build more pedestrian crossings, to reduce the risks.”

The new report also found another key reason people cross the road is to check out attractive looking people they see on the other side.