The D.E.P. Academy Driver Education Course


Sharing The Road Page 1


  • A pedestrian is a person on foot or using a device propelled by human power (skates, scooters, skateboards) other than a bicycle.  This also includes disabled persons who may be using powered devices.
  • Disabled persons using self-propelled wheelchairs, or other means of transportation, are not able to move about as easily as pedestrians. Be very cautious around them.
  • Pedestrian safety is a serious issue.  One in 6 traffic fatalities is a pedestrian.  Pedestrians always lose in any accident, regardless of who had the right-of-way.  You should always drive cautiously when pedestrians are near and may cross your path.  Children under the age of 15 account for about 29% of pedestrian victims and about 28% of bicycle victims.

Pedestrian Responsibilities

  • Most of the time you are a pedestrian, not a driver.  There are both rights and responsibilities you should be aware of. This will help insure your safety when you are not driving your vehicle.
  • When walking on the side of the road, you should always use the sidewalk.  If there is no sidewalk, you can walk on the roadway, but be sure to face oncoming traffic and walk as far to your left as possible.
  • Pedestrians are not allowed on toll brides, highway crossings, or tunnels unless there is a sidewalk more than three feet wide, with signs telling you that pedestrians are permitted to use it. You should wear bright or reflective clothing, day and night, when walking along a roadway that does not have a sidewalk.
  • Pedestrians should never attempt to walk or jog on any freeway. A significant cause of accidents is pedestrians walking on roadways while intoxicated, wearing headphones, or otherwise paying attention to traffic.  It is dangerous to wear headphones while walking on roadways because you cannot hear approaching vehicles. It is also dangerous to walk on railroad tracks.
  • People who jog, run, rollerblade, or skateboard must also follow the same rules as pedestrians. 
  • Hitchhikers must stand off the road when thumbing a ride. Pedestrians may not walk in bike lanes if there is a sidewalk available.

Walking In The Dark

  • You can make yourself more visible at night by wearing white or light colored clothing. Clothing with built-in reflectors is available. You can also carry a light.


  • Pedestrians may only cross roads at intersections, using the crosswalk.  Failure to do so is called "Jay walking" and you can receive a citation for doing so.  Pedestrians should not stop or delay traffic unnecessarily when crossing the street.  Sometimes special signs are posted for pedestrians. 
  • Crosswalks are the part of the roadway where sidewalk lines would extend across the street, and are areas set aside for people to cross the street. Where streets and sidewalks meet "at about right angles" there is a crosswalk, even though there may be no painted lines.  A crosswalk may be marked by white lines. Even if unmarked, one exists and is the extension of sidewalks across the streets unless pedestrian crossing is prohibited by signs.
  • Although most crosswalks are marked with white lines, in school crossings yellow lines may be painted.  Most crosswalks are at corners. They can also be in the middle of a block, so look for markings or signs on the road around schools. 
  • You must always obey traffic signals as a pedestrian.  Many intersections have signals which show the words "WALK" and "DON'T WALK" or show a person walking in white and a raised hand in orange.  Whether it has these signals or the usual traffic lights, you must obey the pedestrian rules.
  • The "WALK", or walking person, appears when it is legal to start crossing the street. When the "DON'T WALK" or red hand appears you may not start across the street.  To operate the pedestrian signals, you need to only push the button once to receive the "WALK" or walking person signal.  When the signal first changes to "WALK" or the walking person for you, you should look left, right and then left again before proceeding across the street.  Yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection before the signal changes.
  • If the flashing "DON'T WALK" or raised hand signals appears after you have already started to cross the roadway, finish crossing the street quickly.  Remember  that you must obey all traffic signs and signals when crossing the street.  Check for vehicles that appear to be unlikely to stop and never forcibly claim the right-of-way from on coming vehicles.
  • At signal controlled intersections, where there are no pedestrian signals, pedestrians must obey the red, yellow, and green signal lights. 
  • When you cross at an intersection controlled by stop signs, you should make sure that drivers see you before you attempt to cross the roadway.  Don't assume that the other drivers will stop just because one of the vehicles has stopped for you. Take turns with approaching vehicles. Only cross the street when all vehicles have stopped for you.  You should never suddenly step off the curb and walk into the path of oncoming vehicles.

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