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Tips for motorists in watching for pedestrians

Pedestrian safety is a serious matter. The California Drivers Handbook says the following about pedestrians and crosswalks.

• In California, pedestrian deaths occur in approximately 19 percent of all traffic fatalities. Drive cautiously when pedestrians are near, because they may suddenly cross your path.

• Pedestrians may be at risk walking near hybrid and electric vehicles because these vehicles are virtually silent while operating. Use extra caution when driving near pedestrians.

• Respect the right-of-way of pedestrians.

• Always stop for any pedestrian crossing at corners or other crosswalks, even if the crosswalk is in the middle of the block, at corners with or without traffic lights, whether or not the crosswalks are marked by painted lines.

• Do not pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk. A pedestrian you cannot see may be crossing the street. Stop, then proceed when all pedestrians have crossed the street.

• Do not drive on a sidewalk, except to cross it to enter or exit a driveway or alley. When crossing, yield to all pedestrians.

• Do not stop in a crosswalk. You will place pedestrians in danger.

• Remember, if a pedestrian makes eye contact with you, he or she is ready to cross the street. Yield to the pedestrian.

• Allow older pedestrians, disabled pedestrians and pedestrians with young children sufficient time to cross the street.

• Before turning a corner, watch for people crossing the street. Pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks.

• Some crosswalks have flashing lights to warn you that pedestrians may be crossing. Look for pedestrians and be prepared to stop, whether or not the lights are flashing.

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