Even though crosswalks should serve as safe places for pedestrians to cross the road, the reality is often that they aren’t as protected as they should be. Drivers may not slow down and stop for them like they’re expected to. Drivers may turn into the crosswalk without looking or even run a red light and enter into the space when they shouldn’t.
Vehicles are large and a crash may be deadly. Drivers must abide by the state laws to keep pedestrians safe.
What laws should drivers follow in California?
California law prohibits drivers from passing other vehicles that are stopped at crosswalks. The reason for this is that the front driver may have stopped for a pedestrian, and the rear driver may not be able to see that person attempting to cross the road.
Drivers are also prohibited from driving on sidewalks unless they must do so when entering an alley or driveway. All pedestrians have the right-of-way under those circumstances, so they are able to cross freely. Drivers who are approaching should slow down and wait for them to cross before attempting to cross themselves.
Drivers need to avoid parking in crosswalks. They should also avoid stopping in crosswalks. Why? If they block the path, then the pedestrians that need to cross may be prevented from doing so or could step into an area where they’re unexpected.
When you’re driving, stop before the crosswalk. Think of yourself like an extra layer of protection. If you’re stopped, others are unlikely to enter the crosswalk and hit the pedestrians who are already in front of you.
Drivers must remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way in both unmarked and marked crosswalks in California. Drivers should be prepared to slow down and stop when pedestrians are attempting to cross.
If you are driving, obey the traffic laws to protect pedestrians. If you’re walking, remember to look both ways and to cross in marked crosswalks or in areas where you can clearly be seen. Make yourself visible, and cross quickly when the lanes are clear. Doing these things will help protect you against the risk of a pedestrian accident.