There is a popular belief that pedestrians always have the right of way in an encounter with a moving vehicle. It is a good approach to defensive driving and one that drivers should take seriously. Unfortunately, while drivers do have a legal obligation to avoid accidents involving pedestrians, some accidents are unavoidable, and in certain circumstances, a pedestrian can be legally at fault when an accident occurs.
According to Ohio law, drivers must always exercise a reasonable duty of care to avoid harming pedestrians and others who share the road. A reasonable duty of care is the expectation that a driver will take reasonable precaution to avoid harming pedestrians as much as possible, especially in commonly hazardous situations like driving through residential streets, poorly lit roads or high foot traffic areas. A driver’s duty of care includes following traffic laws including posted speed limits, watching for pedestrians, slowing down or stopping when a potential hazard becomes apparent, and yielding at all crosswalks and other pedestrian safety zones. It goes without saying that a driver must avoid distractions on the road including the use of a cell phone.