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Drivers must give pedestrians enough room in crosswalks

There are times when a car and a pedestrian both have the right to go through a crosswalk at the same time. For example, if a light is green and a driver is turning right or left, that driver is allowed to legally turn through the crosswalk even though pedestrians are allowed to walk in it, as well.

In these situations, drivers need to yield to pedestrians and allow them to cross. Since one of the most dangerous types of car accidents is the pedestrian accident, it's important for both drivers and walkers to know exactly how this works.

To find out, take a look at the precedent set in a case called People v. Hahn, which happened back in 1950. In that case, it was stated that the right of way given to the pedestrian was never supposed to be measured by things like split seconds or fractions of an inch. Not only did the person deserve enough physical space to pass without being hit, but the person also needed enough space to have "safe passage."

In essence, this ruling means that drivers can't get so close to pedestrians that they're afraid for their own safety. If a driver is waiting to turn left and grows impatient, it is not OK to gun it the second the pedestrians are far enough through the crosswalk that he or she can pass by with an inch to spare. Drivers need to wait, ensure that everyone is safe, and then proceed carefully.

Have you been hit by a car and injured in Chicago? If so, make sure you know what rights you have.

Source: Where The Sidewalk Starts, "A Confession," accessed Jan. 20, 2016

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