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Drivers have duty to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks

Any large city, like Seattle, has a lot of pedestrian traffic. These pedestrians often come in close contact with motor vehicles as they walk the city streets to get to their destinations. All too often, however, car and trucks do not take care to notice pedestrians. In these situations, serious auto-pedestrian accidents can occur. In these accidents, pedestrians are likely to suffer severe injuries.

In order to keep pedestrians safe, Washington State has passed a series of laws to protect pedestrians and to keep drivers accountable while on the roads. These laws create a series of obligations for both pedestrians and drivers.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, pedestrians should walk on sidewalks and in crosswalks -- when they are available. While on sidewalks and in crosswalks, motor vehicles must yield to the right of way of the pedestrians.

If a roadway does not have sidewalks, then pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road, so that they are walking facing traffic. If a person is on the roadway -- and not in a marked or unmarked crosswalk -- then pedestrians must yield to the right of way of a car. This means that people should clear the road if they spot oncoming traffic. Further, people should never bolt into traffic.

However, drivers also have an obligation to avoiding an accident with a pedestrian. They have a duty to exercise due car to avoid a collision. Under this law, drivers should give a warning -- including honking the horn -- to pedestrians.

Failing to follow any of these rules can lead to criminal penalties, dangerous accidents and a civil suit. An attorney can help explain people's legal rights following an auto-pedestrian accident.

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