General Pedestrian Safety Tips
- Look both ways before stepping off a curb.
- Cross a street in a designated crosswalk. Arlington County Police Department statistics reveal that 73 percent of all pedestrians injured in the County were not in a crosswalk when injured.
- If there’s no sidewalk, always walk facing oncoming traffic.
- If walking at night, wear light-colored clothing or reflective tape so you’re more visible to drivers.
- Be aware that drivers may be blinded by sunlight or by the headlights of oncoming traffic. Never assume that a driver sees you!
- When walking with children, always grasp their hands firmly to ensure they don’t break away and dart into traffic.
- If you’re not sure you have enough time to get across the street before the light changes, wait for a “fresh” green light or walk signal, as it will give you the most time to cross.
- Be considerate of the driver who has complied with the law and yielded the right-of-way. Cross the street as expeditiously as possible. The “Golden Rule” is most appropriate: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Right-of-Way of Pedestrians Law
Section 46.2-924, Right-of-Way of Pedestrians, of the Virginia Criminal and Traffic Manual reads as follows:
The driver of any vehicle on a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing such a highway:
- At any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block;
- At any regular pedestrian crossing, including in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block;
- At any intersection when a driver is approaching on a highway or street where the legal maximum speed does not exceed thirty-five miles per hour.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, at intersections or crosswalks where the movement of traffic is being regulated by law enforcement officers or traffic control devices the driver shall yield according to the direction of the law enforcement officer or device.
No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.
The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change their course, slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.
Pedestrians crossing highways at intersections shall at all times have the right-of-way over vehicles making turns into highways being crossed by the pedestrians.