Pedestrians don’t always have the right-of-way

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – We don’t hear a lot about pedestrians being hit by passing vehicles. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve definitely felt those close calls, being on either side of the situation.

But contrary to popular belief, pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way.

For example, people shouldn’t walk out between two cars in the middle of the road. Drivers can’t see them, and it’s jaywalking.

People also shouldn’t walk across the street when the signal tells them not to.

“If you’re going to cross, it’s best to cross with the signal light at an intersection. Not to jaywalk in the middle of the road. When you’re driving, you’re expecting someone at a corner, not during the middle of the block,” said Chief John Plasse, Terre Haute Police Department.

A driver, could have become accustomed to stopping for anyone in a cross walk, thinking it the law. But that law changed in 2011.

Under those new requirements, the pedestrian only has the right-of-way if the that little white man on the signal sign is also walking.

“Pedestrians, don’t walk out without looking, without checking both ways before you go. Walk with the lights, don’t walk against the lights. Just make sure of your surroundings,” said Chief Plasse.

Even if there are white lines marking where a pedestrian can cross, without a pedestrian signal, people shouldn’t walk into the road.

“If I’m coming up to that, and I see a student, I always stop. But there’s no state law that says you have to. I do it as a courtesy,” said Chief Plasse.

According to a street coalition report out this year, in the past decade, more than 600 people were killed while walking.

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