Experienced Legal Representation

Do pedestrians automatically have the right of way?

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2022 | Auto-Pedestrian Accidents |

The cars, trucks and SUVs you encounter every day likely weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds. By contrast, according to Gallup, the average American adult weighs only 181 pounds. As such, it is not difficult to see how automobile-pedestrian crashes are much harder on pedestrians than on vehicles.

To keep walkers, joggers and runners safe, the law generally gives the right of way to pedestrians. This is not always the case, however. Consequently, before your next outing, you should know when you have the right of way.


According to the California Driver’s Handbook, pedestrians always have the right of way when they are in marked and unmarked crosswalks. This means as long as you are crossing in a legally sanctioned crosswalk, drivers must yield to you.

Stop signs

When a crosswalk is at an intersection with a stop sign, drivers should stop before the crosswalk and yield the right of way to any pedestrians who are present. Blocking the crosswalk can be dangerous, of course, as it might require pedestrians to walk into oncoming or turning traffic.


Even though you might have the right of way, you do not want to risk your personal safety. To stay safe, you do not want to force a driver to yield the right of way. After all, distracted drivers might not see you. Moreover, because of road rage, drivers may behave unpredictably.

While staying vigilant can reduce your chances of suffering a catastrophic injury, you can only do so much. Ultimately, if you have a life-altering injury, it might make sense to take legal action against the driver who refused to yield to you.