Georgia Pedestrians and Drivers - A Drivers Ed Guide to the Laws and Responsibilities
One of the worst possible things that could happen when you are driving is to hit a pedestrian. As drivers, we must be completely aware of our surroundings and in control of our vehicles at all times. Drivers must also share the road with pedestrians and adhere to pedestrian laws.
Pedestrians in Georgia make up a large percentage of the people who die every year on the road. In 2019, 236 pedestrians were killed in Georgia and over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the United States by drivers. It's very important that drivers and pedestrians pay attention to each other and know their responsibilities. A city like Athens, GA is high-risk for pedestrian fatalities especially with the influx of students attending the university. Downtown Athens can be completely filled with pedestrians, especially on the weekends, evenings, and during Georgia Bulldogs game days. Let's take a look at what the law says when it comes to pedestrians and drivers and how to take correct measures to ensure we all make it home safe.
Pedestrians Legal Responsibility
Pedestrians are not supposed to step into the street in regions that are not crosswalks. "Jaywalking" is a term for crossing the road in a non-crosswalk area.
Pedestrians must use crosswalks to navigate across intersections, and they have the right of way whether they are on a marked or unmarked crosswalk. That's right, marked and unmarked crosswalks.
A marked crosswalk is a place across an intersection marked with white lines that are designated for pedestrians to walk across. They often have flashing lights and/or "walk" and "don't" walk indicators.
Unmarked crosswalks lack traffic signals and blinking lights. These crossings do not have lines, pictures, or words painted on the road surface. While it might be tough to tell the difference between an unmarked and a marked crosswalk, the pedestrian has precedence in both cases.
When a pedestrian is not in a crosswalk, they are expected to yield the right-of-way to drivers. If a pedestrian is not in a crosswalk, they must wait until traffic has cleared before proceeding.
Drivers Legal Responsibility
When a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, whether it is marked or not, drivers must come to a complete stop and stay stopped. The driver may not resume driving until the pedestrian has crossed over to the other side of the road.
In Georgia, it is illegal to pass or go around drivers who have stopped for pedestrians in the crosswalk. This law applies to both marked and unmarked crossings.
As a driver, you need to be on the lookout for pedestrians at all times. They don't always follow the rules and some situations, such as unmarked crosswalks, can be hard to see. Always use the judgment of caution. Even if the pedestrian is being careless - the last thing you want to do is hit them.
At Athens Driving Prep driving school, our personalized driving lessons teach new drivers the rules of the road and how to always be a safe, aware, and confident driver. Enroll in drivers ed today!