Why are pedestrians walking on highways and how does that cause crashes?

Pedestrian Inspecting Car on the Side of the HighwayWhile it is illegal for pedestrians to walk along highways, a surprisingly large number of pedestrian accidents occur on them. Highways are especially perilous for pedestrians given their lack of any protection from a vehicle hitting them and the fast speed that vehicles travel on highways. Victims can suffer devastating injuries that can cause life-long pain and limitations in their activities or their deaths. However, they may be entitled to compensation if driver negligence was the cause of their accident.

Why Must Pedestrians Walk on Highways?

Even when they are trying to obey the law, pedestrians must sometimes walk on or cross highways. Some of the situations that could force a pedestrian to use a highway include:

  • Crossing and entering. As frightening as this is, pedestrians sometimes must cross a highway if they are assisting a family or friend whose vehicle broke down, but stopped on the wrong side of the road, need to pick up something that fell off their vehicle, or for other legitimate reasons. In addition, many pedestrians must cross highway entrances and exits when they are walking on busy intersections that also have entrances and exits to the highway.

  • Walking on the roadway after dark. When a pedestrian is forced to walk along the highway after dark, for example if his vehicle breaks down, the chances of him being hit by an inattentive driver increases dramatically.

  • Walking or standing on the shoulder. When a motorist’s vehicle breaks down, he could be standing or walking on the shoulder of the highway while inspecting the vehicle or walking to the next exit to get help or gas.

  • Working on vehicles. Pedestrians can be in the roadway or near it when they are taking care of mechanical problem with their vehicle or are pushing it out of the road.

  • Helping accident victims. Pedestrians who are helping other accident victims may need to walk along or across the highway when they are inspecting property damage, administering help, or waiting for the police and other emergency assistance to arrive.

How Do Drivers Cause Pedestrian Accidents on Highways?

Walking on a highway or across it is inherently dangerous, and pedestrians must exercise reasonable care to prevent an accident. However, many of these tragedies are caused by drivers. Some of the motorist errors that contribute to these accidents include:

  • Inattention. Drivers must be attentive to their driving at all times and aware of other vehicles, debris on the vehicle, and nearby pedestrians in order to drive defensively. Pedestrians are less visible, especially at night, and an inattentive driver could miss them before it is too late.

  • Intoxicated driving. If a driver is drunk or high on drugs, his vision, reaction times, and driving abilities are impaired, increasing the risk that he would hit a pedestrian forced to walk on the highway.

  • Distracted driving. Distracted driving is always unsafe and results in many accidents. However, it is even more dangerous on a highway where vehicles are traveling at such fast speeds. Talking on a cell phone, texting, and eating and drinking are a few of the dangerous ways drivers engage in distracted driving on the highway.

  • Poor lighting. Highways are almost always darker due to no street lights. When a driver is inattentive or engaging in other negligent behaviors, he is much more likely to hit an unsuspecting pedestrian.

  • Defective roads. In some cases, highway design, construction, or repair problems could have caused or contributed to the accident. In these situations, a pedestrian may have a claim against a state or municipality and other parties as well as the negligent driver.

Were you hurt in a pedestrian accident? Was a family member killed? David Brauns is here to help you identify all liable parties, thoroughly investigate your accident, and negotiate with the insurance companies for all negligent parties. Call our firm toll free at 877-401-6689 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with David.