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Drivers Have a Duty to Exercise Due Care

Under Washington law, drivers have a duty to exercise due care to avoid car accidents or hitting a pedestrian.  Additionally, drivers are to use their horn when necessary to warn pedestrians.  Drivers must exercise the proper precautions when there are children or incapacitated individuals to avoid a collision with those.  This means if you are near a school or park you should slow down! If there is a reduction in speed limits around these areas you must slow down otherwise you can be assessed a monetary penalty equal to twice amount assessed under RCW 46.63.110.  Additionally, if there is a safety zone you are not permitted to drive through or within the safety zones.

Pedestrian Precautions

As a pedestrian, you should still use the mantra your parents likely taught you of “look both ways before you cross the street.” You are not permitted to dart in front of a vehicle and by pausing to look both ways to ensure there are no vehicles, you are protecting yourself.

If a bridge or signal gate barrier indicates that it is closed to traffic, it is also closed to pedestrians.  Being aware of your surroundings whether a driver, pedestrian or cyclist will help you avoid being injured in an accident.

The Washington Rules of the Road governing a driver’s duty to exercise care and pedestrian’s duties when there is a bridge or grade crossing barrier are as follows:

RCW 46.61.245: Drivers to exercise care.

  1. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this chapter every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.
  2. If a person is found to have committed an infraction under this section within a school, playground, or crosswalk speed zone created under RCW 46.61.440, the person must be assessed a monetary penalty equal to twice the penalty assessed under RCW 46.63.110. The penalty may not be waived, reduced, or suspended.
  3. Fifty percent of the moneys collected under this subsection must be deposited into the school zone safety account.

RCW 46.61.260: Driving through safety zone prohibited.

No vehicle shall at any time be driven through or within a safety zone.

RCW 46.61.269: Passing beyond bridge or grade crossing barrier prohibited.

  1. No pedestrian shall enter or remain upon any bridge or approach thereto beyond a bridge signal gate, or barrier indicating a bridge is closed to through traffic, after a bridge operation signal indication has been given.
  2. No pedestrian shall pass through, around, over, or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad grade crossing or bridge while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.


Have you been injured due to the negligence of another? Then you need a personal injury attorney on your side.  The attorneys at Parke Gordon Law Firm are experience and knowledgeable and offer a free consultation to discuss your personal injury case.  You can reach an attorney at Parke Gordon Law Firm by calling 509-582-7274.

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Tri-Cities, Washington Law Office

Our Tri-Cities, Washington law office provides legal services to injury clients in and surrounding Tri-Cities, including clients injured in accidents in Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, Washington. Visit or call our Tri-Cities office now.

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Kennewick, WA 99336
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