There is some confusion about the use of crosswalks on the Arizona roadways.
Crosswalks are known as the area reserved for pedestrians to safely cross the roadway. We are told from the time we are young that when using a crosswalk, cars must stop for us, because we have right of way. As parents, we stress to our kids to use crosswalks. "You'll be safe there---cars have to stop for you", we say.
But is this the right information?
Stated simply, no.
It is true that crosswalks are put in place as safe pedestrian cross zones. But, that does not make then immediately “safe zones” and crosswalks do not give pedestrians the right of way.
If a crosswalk is present, use it.
However, you must always pay attention to the traffic. A crosswalk is not a force field. You cannot assume drivers will know it is there, or will see you just because you are in a crosswalk.
In fact, if traffic is flowing, the cars have the right of way, not you (whether in a crosswalk or not).
So, when traffic stops:
- Look both ways;
- Only cross when traffic is clear or when you have a “Walk” signal;
- Do not dilly-dally: Move across the street safely and purposely;
- If the “Don’t walk” signal shows, do not start to cross; and
- While crossing, always still pay attention to traffic.
Remember: In a Car v. Pedestrian accident, the pedestrian always loses!