Common Myths

Common Myths

Myth – A “Walk” signal for the pedestrians means that it is safe to cross.

Fact – A “Walk” signal means that the pedestrian has the right-of-way, but the pedestrian should still wait and search for vehicles before stepping into the street.


Myth – A pedestrian is always safe in a crosswalk.

Fact – Many pedestrians are in crosswalks when hit by a motor vehicle. Many motorists do not look for pedestrians when approaching a crosswalk, especially when preparing to make a turn. A motorist may be looking for a gap in traffic or just distracted.


Myth – As a pedestrian, if you can see the driver of a motor vehicle, the driver sees you.

Fact – Don’t assume that a driver sees you, even though it appears that the driver may be looking at you. Make sure the driver sees you by stopping for you before stepping into a vehicle’s path.


Myth – Wearing white or bright colored clothing at night makes you as a pedestrian visible to drivers.

Fact – It is difficult for drivers to see a pedestrian dressed in white or bright clothing soon enough to be able to stop for him/her. The best way to be seen at night is by wearing reflective clothing and by carrying a flashlight.

Myth – Vehicles are bigger and faster than pedestrians so they always have the right-of-way.

Fact – Because a motor vehicle has the potential (due to size and speed) to cause such serious and fatal injuries to a pedestrian, a motorist has the greater responsibility. A motor vehicle must yield to any pedestrian in a crosswalk (marked or unmarked). In fact, Utah Code (41-6a-1006) states that a motorist must always exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian, regardless of the situation.


Myth – Speed limits are just suggestions.

Fact – Speeding is the primary cause in 32% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes (NHTSA).Going the speed limit vs. just five miles an hour over the speed limit means the difference of being able to stop for a young child that darts out into the street vs. hitting and killing the child.


Myth – Pedestrians can only cross the street where painted crosswalks exist.

Fact – Pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing at a location where a crosswalk exists (marked or unmarked), but a pedestrian can cross the street at any location, unless specifically prohibited. However, if a pedestrian is crossing at a location where a crosswalk does not exist, the pedestrian has the duty to yield to motor vehicle traffic.