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What should drivers know about pedestrians and crosswalks?

The most important thing for every driver to know about pedestrians and crosswalks is that -- if a pedestrian is inside a crosswalk or waiting to enter a crosswalk -- the driver needs to give the pedestrian the right of way. That means that drivers need to look out for pedestrians and slow for them in and around a crosswalk area.

Drivers should also know that pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections, regardless if the intersection has a marked crosswalk or an unmarked one. However, this does not mean that pedestrians are not also responsible for avoiding collision with a motor vehicle.

At crosswalks that have pedestrian signals, pedestrians must only cross the street when the signal says "Walk." Drivers need to keep in mind that pedestrians will always have the "Walk" signal when a traffic light is green for cars traveling in the same direction. This means that drivers need to be especially careful to watch for pedestrians when making a right or left turn at intersections where they have a green light because pedestrians will still have the right of way in these circumstances. Pedestrians also have the right of way at any time that a driver is entering or exiting a road, building, private residence or alleyway.

Crosswalks are there for pedestrian safety, but drivers are not only bound to watch for pedestrians when crosswalks are present. Generally, if a pedestrian is struck by a car, the accident warrants further investigation to determine who may be at fault for the crash and whether the driver is financially liable for injuries and damages stemming from the incident. By consulting with a personal injury lawyer, pedestrians hurt by vehicles -- and family members of pedestrians killed by vehicles -- can determine whether a personal injury or wrongful death action may be pursued.

Source: New York State, "Pedestrian Safety: Additional Information," accessed Dec. 29, 2016

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