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Should a driver yield to a pedestrian in a shopping center parking lot if the pedestrian is not in a designated crosswalk area?

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2010-12-01 21:58:23
2010-12-01 21:58:23

Look at it this way...if you don't you will get into A LOT of trouble for hitting a pedestrian. Pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way.

AnswerThere is no single answer for all situations, except that you need to drive with adequate care.

No, absent a local statute to the contrary, pedestrians do NOT always have the "right of way", and they should be reminded of this with appropriate use of your horn, if there is time to encourage them to act smarter. When there are sidewalks, crosswalks, or safety islands, the pedestrians should use them, watch for moving traffic, and take responsibility when they don't. However, yes, you should "yield" to a pedestrian who is attempting to be hit by a car, if you can do so, in the same sense you should "yield" to a moose or a light pole that don't know any better.

In a shopping center parking lot, a driver should expect random pedestrians, inattentive drivers, rolling shopping carts, hidden obstacles, and other hazards that require extra care.

It is considered poor practice to hit a careless pedestrian or a car that is parked illegally, but in plain sight, if you can avoid it, making you liable if you don't. But pedestrians are often found "at fault" for creating the hazard that caused a collision through their own actions, such as "darting into the street", "crossing against the light", "opening door on traffic side of parked car," or other unexpected behaviour that puts them into the path of oncoming traffic.

In California a driver must always yield right of way to a perestrian in a crosswalk.

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