Four Pedestrian Laws Every Washington Resident Should Know

If the day is bright and clear, no one will blame you for walking to your destination instead of taking the car. But before you lace up your sneakers, remember that pedestrians are vulnerable to distracted drivers and other unsafe conditions. In fact, between 6,000 and 8,000 pedestrians die in traffic accidents across the U.S. each year.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to better protect yourself. And staying safe on your walk starts with a basic understanding of Washington’s pedestrian laws. Here are four specific rules to be aware of.

1. Treat Every Intersection as a Crosswalk

In Washington, all intersections may be used as crosswalks — whether the area is marked as one or not. Essentially, this means that every driver should yield the right-of-way to you if you are crossing the street at an intersection.

This law applies to both walkers and cyclists. And in an ideal world, you could trust drivers to respect your rights.

However, you can’t count on every driver to know and obey this law. Even if you have the right-of-way, make eye contact with approaching drivers to ensure that they see you and respect your right to cross.

2. Obey Traffic Signals

As a pedestrian, you are beholden to many of the same laws that apply to Washington drivers. This means that you must obey any signs or signals that indicate when you can and cannot cross a street. The only time you may disobey a traffic signal is if you are so directed by a police officer.

3. Use Sidewalks

Pedestrians are required by law to use sidewalks whenever they are available. And drivers are required to yield to pedestrians on sidewalks. If you are walking and there is no sidewalk in the area, then you must walk on the left side of the roadway so that you are facing traffic.

4. Yield to Drivers Outside of Intersections

If you want to attempt to cross a street outside of an intersection, keep in mind that you do not have the right-of-way. You must yield to any oncoming traffic until the area is safe and clear.

Trust the Harlan Law Firm to Represent You

If you are walking and are hit by a negligent driver, the resulting trauma and expenses can be devastating. Allow our law firm to represent you and ensure that you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us for a free case evaluation today.