The Texas Transportation Code gives pedestrians the right of way in various traffic situations, and vehicles must yield to pedestrians in the following 5 circumstances:
- A pedestrian facing a green light in either a marked or unmarked crosswalk
- A pedestrian crossing a roadway facing a ‘walk’ signal
- A pedestrian in a crosswalk with no traffic signal and in front of a vehicle or close enough to be in danger
- A pedestrian approaching on a sidewalk to cross an alley, building entrance or exit, road, or driveway
- A pedestrian guided by a service animal or using a white cane and attempting to cross an intersection or crosswalk in front of a vehicle
In most cases, pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the street at a crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked. When a pedestrian is crossing at an intersection with traffic signals, they generally have the right of way when the “walk” signal is displayed. Pedestrians also have the right of way when crossing in a marked crosswalk or on a sidewalk.
Even if a pedestrian has the right of way, it’s still the driver’s responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and to exercise caution to avoid an accident.
Even if a pedestrian has the right of way, it’s still the driver’s responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and to exercise caution to avoid an accident. Drivers should always be prepared to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, especially when they are crossing at a crosswalk or a marked crosswalk.
General Duties of Drivers When Pedestrians are Present
Although pedestrians do not always have the right of way, vehicles are bigger and move faster and therefore have the primary responsibility for avoiding an auto pedestrian accident. The Texas Transportation Code requires all vehicle operators to:
- Use reasonable care not to hit pedestrians
- Sound their horn to warn pedestrians if necessary
- Use extra caution when children or obviously impaired or disabled persons are on the road
Whether or not a pedestrian had the right of way after an accident may help the pedestrian or their family to recover compensation but it won’t prevent the pedestrian’s injuries or save their life. Pedestrians are at the mercy of vehicles with drivers who are distracted or are not obeying the laws. Unfortunately, even when pedestrians have the right of way, there is no guarantee that a vehicle will yield. And the human body is no match for 3,000 plus pounds of moving metal.
Walking is a fundamental form of transportation and should not have to be a life-threatening experience. Pedestrians are not able to change driver behavior, so drivers must be extra cautious in areas they know pedestrians will be present. Most auto-pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas like busy city centers with lots of traffic. They also commonly happen at intersections, especially those without crosswalks and/or traffic lights and on roads with poor lighting and/or without sidewalks. In addition, drivers must exercise extreme caution in areas with high pedestrian traffic, such as near schools, parks, neighborhoods, and public transportation stops.
Factors Contributing to Pedestrian Accidents
Darkness is a significant contributing factor to pedestrian accidents. The rate of pedestrians struck while walking at night is almost four times greater than for pedestrians walking during the day. Vehicle speed and consumption of alcohol can also contribute to the likelihood of pedestrian accidents.
In Texas, the top factors identified as contributing to crashes with pedestrians are:
- A driver fails to yield the right of way to a pedestrian
- Driver inattention or distraction
- Driver speeding
If you or someone you love was the victim of driver negligence in a pedestrian accident, there are Texas laws that protect your rights. Pedestrians hit by cars often suffer serious injuries that will require ongoing medical care. To learn more about how you can take legal action in Dallas and beyond, contact our experienced car accident lawyer in Dallas, Julie Wolf, as soon as possible to discuss your pedestrian accident case. Our legal team will work hard to help you seek fair compensation.