Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

Can pedestrians legally stay on the highway?

A common question for those who are involved in traffic accidents on highways is if there is ever a time when a pedestrian has a right to be adjacent to or in the roadway. If you hit a pedestrian who is crossing the highway or is on the side of the road, is it really your fault? Are highways supposed to be free of pedestrians? This is a more complicated question than you may think.

There are many reasons why pedestrians may be on the highway. They could be working with a construction crew, responding to a traffic accident or waiting for help as their vehicles fail to start. In all of these cases, it is important for the pedestrians to be in safe locations on the roads and for drivers to be aware that they may be present.

Should pedestrians create warnings that they're on or around the highway?

If they can, is it good idea for pedestrians to warn others that they are on the highway. Using flares to highlight the scene of an accident, construction signs to show where workers are or flashing lights to indicate that officers may be outside their vehicles, can all be helpful indications that pedestrians could be on or near the roadways.

Why did the (pedestrian) cross the road?

One of the most common reasons for pedestrians to be on a highway is because they are crossing the highway. Many people cross the highway by entering the entrance ramp. Drivers who aren't paying attention may turn onto the ramp and fail to notice the pedestrians cross the road. In these cases, there may be no other option but to cross the ramp, so it is important for drivers to be aware of the potential for pedestrian activity.

It is also common for pedestrians to be on a highway if they are rescue workers or police officers. These individuals may be on the highway legally. Keep in mind that drivers have a responsibility to drive in the lane farthest from any rescue workers who are on the scene of an accident. It is also a good idea to slow down when you notice police vehicles, ambulances or construction teams.

These are just a few reasons why pedestrians are put at risk on highways. Sometimes, they have a right to be there, and it is the responsibility of drivers to make sure they are aware of their surroundings and slowing down when pedestrians are present.

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