Defensive Driving Rule #59: Beware of Stopped Vehicles at Crosswalks

Defensive Driving Rule #59: Beware of Stopped Vehicles at Crosswalks

This is a simple rule, but it is one that many drivers don’t think about. When you are driving down a city street and see a pedestrian crossing the roadway ahead of you, you know you must yield to them; but what about the pedestrians that you cannot see?

If you are approaching a crosswalk and there is a vehicle traveling in the same direction as you that has already stopped at the crosswalk, then you should also stop and make sure the roadway in front of that vehicle is clear before you proceed. In many places, this isn’t just defensive driving; it is also a legal requirement.

Key Points for Ensuring Pedestrian Safety at Crosswalks

  1. Yield to Visible and Hidden Pedestrians:

   – Always yield to pedestrians you can see. However, remember that there might be others hidden from your view by the stopped vehicle.

  1. Stop When Others Stop:

   – If a vehicle in your lane has stopped at a crosswalk, you should stop as well. Do not proceed until you have confirmed that there are no pedestrians crossing in front of the stopped vehicle.

  1. Look for Children and Vulnerable Pedestrians:

   – Children, people in wheelchairs, or pedestrians picking up items from the ground can be easily hidden from view by other vehicles. Always consider this possibility when approaching stopped traffic at a crosswalk.

  1. No Passing in School Zones:

   – Never pass a stopped or slow-moving vehicle in a school zone. Children are often unpredictable and can dart out from behind vehicles. Maintain your position relative to other traffic in school zones to ensure everyone’s safety.

  1. Approach Crosswalks with Caution:

   – Slow down as you approach crosswalks. If you see another vehicle stopped, stop and assess the situation. Only proceed once you are sure it is safe.

By following these practices, you ensure that you are not only adhering to traffic laws but also practicing defensive driving that prioritizes the safety of pedestrians. Your caution and awareness at crosswalks can prevent accidents and potentially save lives.