Jump to Navigation

Pedestrians vs. motorists: Who has the right of way?

When a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian is likely to suffer severe injuries. A human body is not designed to collide with metal and glass, and a collision, even at a low speed, can do serious bodily harm. The increases in distracted driving, coupled with inattentive pedestrians have to lead to a rise in accidents.

Now more than ever, there are plenty of things competing for our attention while we travel throughout the day. Whether it is listening to a podcast while walking or eating a quick breakfast during the morning commute, any act that limits focus on the task at hand increases the risk of an accident.

A deadly trend

So far in 2017, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office has reported six pedestrian-motor vehicle deaths. Various news outlets have reported numerous other pedestrian and vehicle collisions, with the pedestrian's sustaining injuries in almost every incident. Since 2010, pedestrian deaths in Snohomish County have averaged close to seven per year, but in 2011 there were 11 pedestrian-motor vehicle deaths.

Right of way laws

In Washington State, pedestrians have to follow traffic laws just like motorists, but often these laws are ignored. Pedestrians are supposed to follow traffic signals and use sidewalks and crosswalks when available. If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, approaching vehicles are supposed to stop and allow the pedestrian to cross. This includes marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Pedestrians are required to yield to vehicles on roadways and wait for vehicles to pass before crossing. Also, pedestrians are not allowed to bolt into traffic or move into the direct path of a motorist.

As drivers and pedestrians continue to split their attention between focusing on the road and numerous other interruptions, collisions are probable. Whether driving or walking, maintaining focus on the road and your surroundings can help avoid an accident and save lives.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information