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Do I always have the right-of-way when walking?


When a pedestrian is hit by a car, the pedestrian usually receives serious or fatal injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's most recent data, traffic crashes killed almost 6,000 pedestrians in the United States in 2017. Unfortunately, many collisions between pedestrians and vehicles are preventable.

Many people believe that pedestrians always have the right-of-way. However, this is a common misconception that may contribute to preventable collisions.

When do pedestrians have the right-of-way?

When you are traveling on foot, you do have the right-of-way when crossing the street at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. This means that motorists should stop and allow you to safely cross the street in these locations. This does not mean that you are legally allowed to dash out into the street, even if you are in a crosswalk. It also does not mean that you can stand in the middle of a crosswalk just to hold up traffic.

It can also be valuable to keep in mind that when you are walking anywhere on the road except a marked or unmarked crosswalk, you do not have the right-of-way. Instead, you must yield to any vehicle that is close enough to be an immediate hazard.

Of course, this does not make it okay for motorists to speed recklessly past you as you walk. Driver's still have a legal responsibility to exercise due care for your safety.

If a car hits you while you are walking, it may be appropriate to hold the driver accountable. Serious injuries usually mean there will be a long road to recovery. The compensation you may be eligible to receive could help you pay for injury-related expenses along the way.

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