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Motorists in Washington must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks

When temperatures are pleasant, it is not unusual for people in Seattle to take a walk. Moreover, before too long school will start again, with more children taking to the sidewalks as they walk to school. When pedestrians are on a walk, they often must cross the street to get to where they're going. However, this puts them at risk for being involved in an auto-pedestrian accident.

Motorists may not realize this, but per Washington law motorists must stop for pedestrians at every intersection, even if the intersection is not marked at a crosswalk.

When a pedestrian is standing at the curb waiting to cross the street that is marked with white striping, motorists must stop so the pedestrian can cross the street. Intersections that are marked as crosswalks but do not have traffic lights or stop signs, roads that do not see much traffic or roads that are in school zones are "uncontrolled" crossings, meaning it is up to motorists to know the laws regarding pedestrians and crosswalks.

Uncontrolled intersections, whether marked or not, have four legal crossings that motorists must stop at so pedestrians can cross the intersection safely. At controlled intersections, where there are traffic signals or stop signs, motorists can turn into the crosswalk only once the pedestrian crossing the street is at least one lane away from the motorist's half of the street.

Unfortunately, motorists may not follow these rules, particularly if they are in a hurry, are distracted or are intoxicated. When a pedestrian is hit by a car, he or she could suffer serious injuries. In the worst of circumstances, the pedestrian will die. Pedestrians who have been struck by an automobile will want to take the steps necessary to determine if the motorist was negligent, so they can understand what legal options they have for recovery.

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