Drivers should watch out for pedestrian crosswalks

  • Published
  • By Eddie Fletcher
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Ground Safety
Every intersection has a pedestrian crosswalk, whether or not there are painted lines on the street. Most crosswalks are at corners, but they can be in the middle of the block. A crosswalk is that portion of the pavement where the sidewalk lines would extend across the street, and it is set aside for pedestrian safety. Pedestrian safety is a serious issue. One out of six traffic fatalities is a pedestrian. 

Drive with caution when approaching a crosswalk. Be on the lookout for pedestrians and be prepared to stop. A pedestrian may be approaching a crosswalk without paying attention to the traffic on the street. In most instances, there are no flashing lights to warn drivers that they are approaching a pedestrian crosswalk.  There may or may not be a posted traffic sign. 

Even when there are lights or markings drivers need to be alert.  Research suggests that marked crosswalks give pedestrians a false sense of security. Some pedestrians often enter a crosswalk expecting the driver of a vehicle approaching to stop. Some drivers fail to stop because they may not see the pedestrian approaching the crosswalk. The driver may not have his or her full attention on the road while driving, doing other things such as talking on the cell phone or replacing a CD. At all crosswalks, both marked and unmarked, it is the pedestrian's responsibility to be cautious and alert before attempting to cross the street. Ensure you have eye-to-eye contact with the driver before crossing the street. 

Pedestrians generally have the right of way overall while at the curb or in a crosswalk. This means that all vehicle traffic including cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles must stop when a pedestrian is in or about to enter a crosswalk. Vehicles must remain stopped unit the pedestrian has fully crossed street. 

The bottom line is that vehicles and pedestrians have to share the roadways. Be on the lookout for each other and stay safe.