Seeing a pedestrian walking along or across a busy interstate highway is not a common sight, mainly due to laws that ban them from walking on the shoulders of these fast-paced roads. However, certain situations arise when a motor vehicle breaks down or is damaged in an accident, and the pedestrian is trying to get to safety with cars traveling at significant speeds of 55 to 85 miles per hour.
Pedestrians on interstates are a deadly combination
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 95 percent of what they refer to as “inconspicuous-vehicle crashes” happens when a vehicle traveling crashes into one that is stopped or disabled. The scenario is particularly hazardous when a mechanically inclined driver is under a car to repair it.
Other crashes occur due to a “good Samaritan” who sees an accident ahead and decides to pull over, get out of their vehicle, and help. While noble in their intentions, that well-meaning individual could be struck in a split second, suffering life-threatening injuries or death.
Many of the deaths and serious injuries that occur on the interstate result from a vehicle colliding with a pedestrian who left, is working on, or returning to their cars. Overall, those scenarios have resulted in 300 deaths annually, and the number has grown significantly over the past several years.
Out of the 800 pedestrians annually who lose their lives on interstates and freeways, nearly a fifth of those incidents started with a car or truck that simply broke down.
The environment is particularly hazardous in the evening when 90 percent of pedestrian accidents occur. A negligent or reckless driver combined with any of the above scenarios would carry devastating consequences, particularly if alcohol or drugs were involved.
The best of intentions can lead to the worst of consequences. Looking out for others while trying to protect yourself is a delicate balancing act. Should an accident occur that left you injured or a loved one dies, legal help may be necessary to hold the negligent party accountable.