Myth A "Walk" signal for the pedestrians means that it is safe to cross.
Fact A "Walk" signal means that the pedestrian has the right-of-way, but the pedestrian should still wait and search for vehicles before stepping into the street.
Myth A pedestrian is always safe in a crosswalk.
Fact Many pedestrians are in crosswalks when hit by a motor vehicle. Many motorists do not look for pedestrians when approaching a crosswalk, especially when preparing to make a turn. A motorist may be looking for a gap in traffic or just distracted.
Myth As a pedestrian, if you can see the driver of a motor vehicle, the driver sees you.
Fact Don't assume that a driver sees you, even though it appears that the driver may be looking at you. Make sure the driver sees you by stopping for you before stepping into a vehicle's path.
Myth Wearing white or bright colored clothing at night makes you as a pedestrian visible to drivers.
Fact It is difficult for drivers to see a pedestrian dressed in white or bright clothing soon enough to be able to stop for him/her. The best way to be seen at night is by wearing reflective clothing and by carrying a flashlight.
Myth Vehicles are bigger and faster than pedestrians so they always have the right-of-way.
Fact Because a motor vehicle has the potential (due to size and speed) to cause such serious and fatal injuries to a pedestrian, a motorist has the greater responsibility. A motor vehicle must yield to any pedestrian in a crosswalk (marked or unmarked). In fact, Utah Code (41-6a-1006) states that a motorist must always exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian, regardless of the situation.
Myth Pedestrians can only cross the street where painted crosswalks exist.
Fact Pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing at a location where a crosswalk exists (marked or unmarked), but a pedestrian can cross the street at any location, unless specifically prohibited. However, if a pedestrian is crossing at a location where a crosswalk does not exist, the pedestrian has the duty to yield to motor vehicle traffic.
Myth Speed limits are just suggestions.
Fact Speeding is the primary cause in 32% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes (NHTSA). Going the speed limit vs. just five miles an hour over the speed limit means the difference of being able to stop for a young child that darts out into the street vs. hitting and killing the child.
  • Slow down and use caution in residential areas, around schools, playgrounds, parks, bus stops or other areas where children and other pedestrians are common.
  • If a vehicle has stopped at a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) for a pedestrian to cross, any vehicle approaching from the rear must stop also to allow the pedestrian to cross.
  • Motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing at intersections (a crosswalk exists at every intersection regardless of whether or not it is painted) or in any other marked crosswalk.
  • When exiting a parking lot or driveway a motorist must stop before the sidewalk and must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrians on the sidewalk before crossing over the sidewalk.
  • Vehicles making a left or right turn on a green light must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk within the intersection.
  • When turning right on red, come to a complete stop and look to the right for pedestrians crossing the street in front of your vehicle.
  • Vehicles must stop at the "stop line" in front of a crosswalk, and not in the crosswalk.
  • Pedestrians are the road users most at risk. Do all you can to avoid hitting a pedestrian.
  • Always look left-right-left before crossing any street and continue to look for vehicles as you cross.
  • Do not stand in the street while waiting to cross.
  • Just because you as a pedestrian use a crosswalk to cross the street, it does not mean that a motorist will see or even stop for you. Be a defensive pedestrian and don't put your safety in the hands of motorists.
  • Push the pedestrian signal button, it gives you more time to cross.
  • If a sidewalk exists, use it. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic along the shoulder of the roadway.
  • If crossing a road with several lanes and a vehicle in the closest lane has stopped to allow you to cross, make sure vehicles in other lanes see you and stop for you as well, before proceeding into the path of the next lane. It is easy for you as a pedestrian to be hidden from the view of other motorists by the vehicle that has already stopped.
  • Look out for motorists entering or exiting a parking lot or driveway. Motorists are required by to law to yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk, but many motorists do not.
  • Dress to be seen. Brightly colored clothing may make you a little more visible to drivers during daylight hours, but during nighttime hours bright and even white clothing does little to enhance your visibility to motorist. If out walking when it is dark, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.

For national information on pedestrian safety, go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Click here for more on pedestrian safety, local statistics, other programs and resources.

Visit the Utah Highway Safety website for more information on motor vehicle crash data in Utah.

This website is a one-stop information source of Utah safety campaigns created to prevent traffic injuries and fatalities.