The days are becoming shorter and colder, but many Connecticut residents still walk as part of their daily routine. Some people walk for exercise, pleasure, or simply to get from one place to another. Some walk on sidewalks and in towns or cities, while others walk on trails. However, inevitably, we all encounter cars when we move around as pedestrians. It is important for both pedestrians and motorists encountering them to be aware of the rules relating to who has the right of way.
Marked and unmarked crosswalks
Connecticut usually grants the right of way to pedestrians over motorists. In 1929, the State implemented a pedestrian right of way in marked or unmarked crosswalks. An unmarked crosswalk is a pathway across a street that leads from one section of sidewalk to another. Generally speaking, drivers must yield to pedestrians by slowing or stopping whenever a pedestrian steps off the curb. Some specific guidelines include:
- Drivers must yield if they are on the same half of the street as the pedestrian.
- Drivers must yield if they are within 10 feet of a pedestrian.
- Drivers cannot pass other vehicles stopped at a crosswalk.
- Pedestrians must use a marked crosswalk if there is a traffic signal or the crosswalk is within 300 feet of where the pedestrian intends to cross.
- Pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk.
- Pedestrians should use the right-hand side of the crosswalk.
- Pedestrians must obey the “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signs or instructions from a traffic officer.
- Pedestrians must yield to emergency responders.
There are times when pedestrians do not have the right of way. For example, pedestrians cannot suddenly step out onto the street and into the path of a vehicle if the driver does not have a reasonable amount of time to stop.
Pedestrians are generally required to use sidewalks when they are available. Walkers should move against traffic on the far-left edge of the road, enabling them to see oncoming vehicles and verify that the driver sees them. Drivers must yield to pedestrians and other sidewalk traffic when the driver crosses the sidewalk, such as to enter a driveway or parking structure.
Pedestrian collisions can be avoided
It is an unfortunate fact that pedestrians are sometimes severely injured or killed by negligent drivers. Those harmed or killed by another individual’s negligence may have the ability to pursue legal action and should consult with an experienced attorney to find out more.