You have probably been looking both ways before crossing the street since you could walk. Most motor vehicle drivers know to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks but not everyone does it. Similarly, pedestrians often assume that vehicles must yield to them in every instance. This is also false and most drivers will yield for no other reason than not wanting to hit a pedestrian.
It seems that many pedestrians and drivers alike could use a refresher course on Georgia’s right of way laws.
Crosswalks are for foot traffic
Vehicles must yield to pedestrians in marked or unmarked crosswalks. This includes remaining stopped at least one lane from the person crossing the street. That means not driving around them even if there is room to do so. Attempting to pass a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian is also unlawful. This protects both the driver and the pedestrian.
With that said, the law prohibits pedestrians from suddenly entering a roadway in a manner that doesn’t leave enough time for a vehicle to stop. The driver has the right of way in this situation.
Pedestrians yield to drivers when entering a roadway
This is common sense. A person crossing the street is significantly more vulnerable than an automobile. Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point without a marked or unmarked crosswalk is to yield to incoming traffic.
While jaywalking is not a legal term in Georgia, the law forbids pedestrians from crossing the street diagonally. The only time it is permissible for a pedestrian to cross the street diagonally is with the permission of an official traffic control officer.
Laws are in place to protect both pedestrians and drivers from harm. These rules encourage pedestrians to only cross roadways at pedestrian bridges, crosswalks or with the direction of traffic officers. Drivers are to come to a complete stop for those in crosswalks but to be on the lookout for pedestrians crossing roadways unexpectedly. If both drivers and pedestrians work together, we can reduce accidents and injuries.