Many busy, high-speed roadways lack sidewalks or any lane for pedestrians. The lack of protection poses a risk to pedestrians of injury or death. Too often, pedestrians cannot avoid these roadways, such as highways or interstates. For example, if a driver encounters a flat tire, check engine light, or even take an important phone call, they may have no choice but to stop. They may even leave their car and walk along the highway to seek help. In fact, a 20 year-old woman from Upper Marlboro was struck after she left her car to walk down I-270 near Maryland Route-109 in Frederick.
According to a local news article, the victim parked her car on the shoulder of the highway northbound before walking southbound down the highway. She was then struck by a BMW sedan and pronounced dead on the scene. The driver was unharmed. The reason the victim exited her vehicle is unclear, but some drivers may have the instinct to walk along the highway if they encounter an emergency.
Highway Pedestrian Safety Tips
If you find yourself dealing with car troubles or another situation that requires you to park on the shoulder of a highway, it is important to avoid leaving your vehicle. Instead, it is best to request help via phone call and remain in your vehicle until help comes. A tow truck or roadside assistance driver will be able to assist you, allowing you to safely leave your vehicle.
If you must leave your vehicle, it is advised to walk on the left shoulder or on the left side of the roadway, as far into the shoulder as is practicable. This will allow you to face any oncoming traffic that may approach from the opposite direction. As a pedestrian, you have a right to use the shoulder of a highway, but you must follow safety precautions: Failure to walk along the left shoulder or the left side of the roadway can be a misdemeanor.
Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way if There Are No Sidewalks?
When no sidewalks are provided, neither the pedestrian nor the motorist has the right-of-way. Instead, drivers must keep their eyes on the road and avoid pedestrians, and pedestrians must anticipate vehicles on the highway with consideration for their own safety. However, pedestrians do not have a legal duty to watch behind them for vehicles approaching from the rear to check if they are in danger of being struck. As a pedestrian, it is important to remain diligent and, to the best of your ability, keep a lookout for oncoming traffic.
Have You Been a Pedestrian Victim of a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Maryland car accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen for assistance. Our dedicated team of auto accident attorneys have years of experience in complex cases involving car accidents. We will help you understand your rights, and we will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. In addition to car accident cases, our firm handles other motor vehicle accidents, construction site accidents, amusement park injuries, nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. Call our office today at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.