As a pedestrian, it’s hard to know when you have the right of way at a crosswalk – and when you don’t. Unfortunately, many pedestrians are injured or killed each year in crosswalk accidents. Accidents can happen for many reasons. Pedestrians or drivers can quickly become distracted by items like phones or something they see outside. Pedestrians sometimes believe they instantly and always have the right away or decide to cross before ensuring a car is fully stopped. Keep reading this article to find out when you are in the right-of-way and how to stay safe when crossing a crosswalk.
A pedestrian crosswalk is a designated area for pedestrians to walk across a road. In most cases, pedestrian crosswalks are marked by paint or lines on the pavement, and sometimes they also have signs or signals.
Pedestrian crosswalk accidents are, unfortunately all too common. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrian fatalities account for about 16 percent of all traffic fatalities each year in the United States. And, of those pedestrian fatalities, nearly 70 percent occur at intersections or crosswalks.
While pedestrian crosswalks are designed for pedestrians’ safety, they are not guaranteed. Pedestrians can be wrong when using a crosswalk if they fail to yield to oncoming traffic, cross outside of the crosswalk markings, or jaywalk.
Jaywalking, in particular, is a significant problem when it comes to pedestrian crosswalk accidents. Jaywalking is defined as crossing a street outside of a designated crosswalk. It is illegal in many states, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it.
Jaywalking is dangerous because it puts pedestrians in the path of oncoming traffic, and drivers may not be expecting to see pedestrians crossing outside of a crosswalk. In 2016, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths in the United States, and about 15 percent of those were caused by jaywalking.
If you’re a pedestrian, it’s important to use crosswalks correctly and obey all traffic laws. And if you’re a driver, be extra cautious when driving near crosswalks, especially if pedestrians are nearby.
So, who has the right-of-way at a crosswalk?
Pedestrians generally have the right-of-way when crossing the street at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. This means drivers must yield to pedestrians and not pass other vehicles stopped at a crosswalk to avoid stopping pedestrians.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if a pedestrian is crossing the street outside a crosswalk when a crosswalk is available or against a traffic signal, the pedestrian does not have the right-of-way. In this case, drivers are not required to yield and may proceed through the intersection as usual.
Additionally, even when pedestrians have the right of way, they still need to exercise caution. Just because a driver is required to yield doesn’t mean that the driver will see the pedestrian or be able to stop in time. Pedestrians should always look both ways before crossing the street, even if they have the right-of-way, to ensure that it is safe to do so.
How To Stay Safe Crossing The Street:
- Put your phone away. Do you cross or begin to cross a street while being distracted.
- Look both ways before crossing the street, even if the crosswalk has a traffic light. Also, check behind and in front of you, as looking left to right will not give information if someone is coming up from a different angle.
- If there is no traffic light, yield to oncoming traffic before entering the crosswalk.
- Always use a crosswalk if there is one.
- Make sure that all vehicles have stopped before proceeding across the street.
- Don’t assume drivers will yield to you – always be aware of your surroundings.
Following these simple tips can help reduce your risk of being involved in a crosswalk accident. Remember, pedestrian safety is always a shared responsibility.