Road rules for drivers: yield at crosswalks

SDOT’s blog highlights some rules of the road for drivers, which is a good refresher for anyone who ever gets behind the wheel. The section on crosswalks is of particular importance for pedestrian safety:

Most people are unaware that every intersection contains a crosswalk whether marked or unmarked. This is true throughout the state of Washington. Drivers must stop for pedestrians when crossing the street at marked crosswalks and at intersections as well. Whenever a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of another vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

When attempting to make a left turn at an intersection with pedestrians in the crosswalk, state law says that drivers can turn into the crosswalk only after pedestrians are one lane past the drivers half of the roadway. The image below should help clarify this law. Just remember that pedestrians and bicyclists have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections.

Washington State's Crosswalk Law

Although the rules are pretty simple, 251 drivers were at fault for hitting pedestrians last year. Drivers have a lot to pay attention to, but remembering the rules of the road is one way to be a more responsible driver.


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