The right of way means everything when it comes to the relationship between drivers and pedestrians. While it’s true that pedestrians often have the right of way, it surprises most people to learn they don’t always. Here, our San Diego pedestrian accident attorneys discuss the rules pedestrians and drivers must follow.
Drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians when the crosswalk light says the pedestrian can cross. Conversely, if the crosswalk light says the pedestrian cannot cross, the driver has the right of way. Pedestrians are required to yield to vehicles that have a green light at an intersection. That being said, even if a pedestrian is crossing the road illegally or jaywalking, drivers must yield to them. Pedestrians who are blind always have the right of way in any situation.
Right-of-way laws are a little different at non-signaled crosswalks. The pedestrian always has the right of way, even if they run out in front of a moving vehicle. When coming up to a non-signaled crosswalk, drivers are advised to slow down and remain alert.
Drivers have the right of way when pedestrians cross outside of a designated crosswalk. As such, if a pedestrian gets hit by a car while crossing in this manner, they could be held liable for damages. Some states have laws that differ on the matter and hold the driver accountable regardless.
Pedestrians using the sidewalks have the right of way, and there are no exceptions. If pedestrians come up to an intersection on the sidewalk, they can cross even if a vehicle was there before them. For example, if a car is turning into a store parking lot as a pedestrian walks along the sidewalk, the pedestrian does not have to stop for the vehicle. However, pedestrians have the option to wave drivers on.
Pedestrians are required to obey California’s right of way laws, and if they are ignored or a pedestrian acts recklessly, they can be held entirely or partially liable for an accident. Some examples of when a pedestrian may be considered at fault are if an accident occurs while they:
Liability is never straightforward in most pedestrian accident cases and will require a thorough investigation to determine which parties are responsible.