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Best Practices for Pennsylvania Pedestrians

Pedestrians and motorists share roadways every day, but how often do we think about the laws surrounding this daily interaction? When pedestrians and motorists do not obey traffic laws, it can mean serious injuries— or even death to the pedestrian.
It’s important to know: who has the right of way? It can mean the difference between a routine traffic stop and a tragic car accident.
Here are some important Pennsylvania Driver/Pedestrian Laws (PennDOT full version) to remember, whether you’re driving or walking:

When should drivers yield right of way to pedestrians?

  • When traffic signals in an intersection are not present or operating, to pedestrians crossing the roadway within any crosswalk
  • When a pedestrian is crossing any alley, private road, or building that the driver is entering or exiting
  • To any fully or partially blind pedestrian (regardless of whether the pedestrian has a cane or guide dog)


When should pedestrians yield right of way to drivers?

  • If a pedestrian is crossing a roadway where a tunnel or overhead crossing is available
  • When any authorized emergency or police vehicle making use of signals and/or sirens approaches


What do you do if there is no sidewalk where you’re walking?

  • It is unlawful to walk on the roadway where a sidewalk is available
  • If there is no sidewalk available, you should walk on the shoulder of the roadway, as far from traffic as you can
  • You cannot cross a roadway diagonally unless directed to do so
  • If there is no sidewalk or shoulder, walk as close to the edge of the roadway as you can
    • For increased visibility, you should walk on the left side of the road (opposing traffic) if there is no sidewalk or shoulder available

What is against the law for Pennsylvania pedestrians?

  • Standing on the roadway to solicit rides from drivers
  • Standing on the roadway to solicit business, a job, or contributions from any vehicle
  • Standing on (or in proximity to) a roadway or highway to solicit the watching or guarding of parked vehicles

So, the next time you find yourself at an intersection, whether you’re walking or driving, remember who has the right of way in various situations— it can save your life.

One thought on “Best Practices for Pennsylvania Pedestrians

  1. Pedestrains in PA must also yield to drivers at an inteersection controlled by a traffic signal if the driver has the green light. You may not cross against a traffic signal in PA.

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