July 10, 2023

Is It Illegal to Walk on the Highway in Tennessee?

In the United States, all interstate highways, including the highways in Tennessee, are classified as “access-controlled roads.” This makes it illegal for pedestrians, bicyclists, and slow-moving vehicles to access these highways. This law is in place to keep both pedestrians and car drivers safe on the streets. In fact, Tennessee pedestrian laws stress that you should take precautions to avoid walking on the highway wherever possible.

If you or someone you know was injured in a vehicle accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney Nashville to seek the compensation and justice you deserve.

Is It Illegal to Walk on the Highway in TN?

Many people in Tennessee may want to know: Is it legal to walk on the highway? The short answer is: ”No.” A pedestrian walking on the highway is unlawful under Tennessee state law. However, there are always a few situations in which walking on the shoulder may be unavoidable. For instance, you may need to walk on the highway on the left side if your vehicle suddenly broke down. In such situations, you should be careful about your safety and walk directly to the nearest exit.

Poor planning or unexpected situations may also compel you to get out of your vehicle on an interstate system. You may need to rescue an animal in distress or save a stranded driver. Many pedestrians that walk on the highway don’t have a means of transportation. They walk on the left side of the highway to get to their destination even though it is illegal to walk.

There are also several cyclists that choose to use roadways meant for fast-moving vehicles. This is a dangerous practice. If you see an animal or a person in distress along and upon a highway, it is best to call 911 and the local transportation authority. These are trained personnel with proper equipment that helps them avoid walking directly into oncoming traffic. They are better equipped to provide people in distress with a safe escort out of harm’s way.

Is It Illegal to Walk Next to a Highway While Soliciting a Ride?

It can be heart-wrenching to see a distressed pedestrian walking on an adjacent roadway. However, no pedestrian is allowed to solicit rides near or on highways, roadways, and alleyways. In short, it is illegal for a pedestrian to flag down a driver to solicit the following:

  • Business opportunities
  • Employment
  • Monetary contributions
  • Ride

Many drivers don’t realize that it is illegal for pedestrians to stand on the shoulder of a highway, street, or sidewalk and solicit business or rides. Regardless of the situation, you should not delay speaking with a seasoned Nashville car accident attorney if you find yourself embroiled in an accident.

Is It Illegal to Walk on the Shoulder of a Highway in Tennessee?

It is not legal for pedestrians to walk on a highway. A violation of this rule may be considered a Class C misdemeanor. Most roadways within the US Interstate Highway System of the federal government have “prohibited” sign marks, which usually state that motor-driven cycles, bicycles, and pedestrians are prohibited.

In Tennessee, all pedestrians are required to use a sidewalk to avoid colliding with motor vehicles and stay clear from shoulder-facing traffic. They are also supposed to use marked crosswalks at intersections. In case these are not present, the pedestrian should try and walk along the shoulder in the opposite direction of oncoming traffic.

A key reason for this rule in Tennessee is that low-speed traffic and high-speed cars on the same roadway or divided highways can be a recipe for accidents. This is also why there is a minimum legal speed limit in the Interstate Highway System. You may be slapped with a ticket if you go below this speed limit.

Shoulder-facing traffic accidents involving pedestrians and other vehicles don’t usually bear well for the pedestrian. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has listed guidelines for safe driving and preventing accidents. They also test cars to ensure safety on the highway and other roadways.

Do Pedestrians Have the Right-Of-Way in Tennessee?

Pedestrians are required to yield the right of way to motor vehicles when crossing anywhere besides a designated crosswalk or intersection under Tennessee law. It is easy to mistakenly assume that car drivers are always required to yield the right of way to anyone on foot. 

As per the Tennessee Code, drivers have a responsibility to protect those on foot by exercising due care, avoiding distracted driving, and yielding at crossings. However, they cannot be held responsible for any traffic accident involving a jaywalker as long as they exercised reasonable care.

Pedestrians are responsible for using sidewalks and designated wheelchair-accessible areas and keeping off the roads whenever available. They should use marked crosswalks, wherever possible, to cross a street. If there are no sidewalks present on the street, the pedestrian can walk on the road. However, they should walk as close to the edge of the street as possible. They should also increase their visibility by walking in the opposite direction of traffic.

Recover the Maximum Compensation You Deserve for Your Pedestrian Accident Injuries in Tennessee

Pedestrian accidents result in extensive injury and expensive medical bills. As per data released by the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, a total of 1,473 traffic crashes occurring in a recent year involved pedestrians. Many victims suffer significant injuries leading to substantial lifestyle changes and medical expenses.

If you or someone you know was injured by a reckless or careless driver, you should speak with a Nashville car accident attorney. It is important to note that car drivers are not always automatically at fault. If it is found that a pedestrian was illegally walking on the highway, they may be held responsible for the crash.

Your attorney can carry out a complete and thorough investigation into the crash to determine liability. Personal injury laws can be complicated. You should hire an attorney to handle all negotiations with the insurance company. Insurance companies take claims backed by established law firms seriously. They know that an experienced personal injury attorney will not hesitate to take the claim to trial if necessary.

Choose the Most Results-Driven Car Accident Attorney with a Track Record of Large Settlements and Verdicts

The proven personal injury attorneys at Meyers Injury Law have extensive legal resources, knowledge, and commitment to helping injured victims get the compensation they deserve. You can count on our attorneys to successfully handle all aspects of your personal injury lawsuit from beginning to end. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (615) 258-9000 or fill out this online contact form.

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