Highways are called different names depending on the state or country but irrespective of their different names, they all serve the same purpose, some are busier than others and safer than others as well.
Both vehicles and pedestrians alike make use of a highway but for a pedestrian;
If you must walk on the highway you should walk on the left side approachng traffic. You should also follow the necessary rules and regulations to ensure safety.
Is it Legal to Walk on the Highway?
No, it is not legal to walk on the highway. Highways are main or major roads frequently plied by vehicles moving from one city to the other. They are usually busy with vehicles maneuvering here and there and are definitely not the safest place for people to walk.
In some states, it may be illegal to walk on the highway, however, there have not stopped people from doing so either because of unavoidable reasons or intentionally.
Some of the reasons could be that the vehicle broke down, rescuing people or animals in distress, or even people that do not have a means of transportation to whom the highway seems like the better option.
Although it may be illegal to walk on the highway in some major cities, there are still cities with some exceptions and clauses in their highway regulations that allow people to do so.
Also depending on the city of residence and its regulation, you may receive a ticket for violation or other punishment as the appropriate authorities deem fit. A major exception to walking on the highway will be if the highway has a sidewalk.
The illegality of pedestrians walking on the highway in most cities is for pedestrians’ safety. A lot of things can go wrong such as; accidents, sustaining injuries, etc.
When walking on a road with a free flow of traffic especially one that doesn’t have traffic lights although a good number of highways are known to have.
If You Must Walk on the Highway you Should?
It has been established that walking on the highway is illegal in most cities but also unavoidable in some cases. The rules are in place for the safety of pedestrians and drivers as the case may be.
However, if you must walk on the highway what and what should you do? Here are a few things that should be done;
- For highways that have sidewalks or footways, the sidewalk should be used. Walking on the sidewalk is much better and safer than walking directly on the road and if for whatever reason you need to step into the road, look left and right first.
- If there is no sidewalk, it is better to walk against the traffic on the right-hand side of the road. Walking against traffic allows you to see vehicles coming your way and it is important that you keep to the side of the road
- In a situation where you are walking with young children, they shouldn’t be right beside the road. Hold their hands or strap them into push-chairs if necessary.
- In order to help other road users to see you especially when dark, you should carry or wear something light.
If you are crossing to the other side of the road, ensure the following:
- Be sure the side of the road you are crossing from is directly opposite a sidewalk if there’s any
- Look left, right, and left again to ensure no vehicle is coming before crossing.
- Do not be in a hurry, if there are oncoming vehicles allow them to pass before crossing. Do not assume the vehicle will wait for you to cross.
- When crossing from a junction, look around for vehicles turning or coming from behind you.
- It isn’t safe to cross behind a vehicle that’s reversing, the driver may not see you in time to stop.
- Using the traffic light may also be a safe option when crossing, when the light is red and vehicles are stopped you can carefully make your way across the road. On some highways, there may be special signals for pedestrians to cross, if there is none you can make do with the traffic light.
Dangers of Walking on the Highway
It isn’t 100% safe to work on the highway whether you are walking on the sidewalk or not, if it is unavoidable for you then you should take note of the various dangers you may likely be exposed to.
Injuries and Accidents
One of the common dangers of walking on the highway is the high possibility of being a casualty of injuries and accidents.
Because most highways are usually busy with vehicles coming and going, a person walking on the road may be hit by any of these vehicles which may result in minor bruises or more serious injuries.
Here are some common ways pedestrians get hit on highways;
- When crossing the road
- Backing the flow of traffic when walking
- Working a vehicle that’s broken down
- Walking on the shoulder of the highway
This is most applicable to pedestrians that walk at night. The chances of getting robbed are high especially at night and for someone walking alone.
It is a known fact that some areas are safer than others, therefore, it will be in one best interest to avoid those areas and if you must walk that road, do not walk alone.
Dehydration, Heat Sickness, and Many More
Walking is good but under certain conditions plus advisable walking distance also varies according to age and health conditions.
Someone walking a long-distance under hot weather conditions without a bottle of water will get dehydrated in no time and may eventually get uncomfortable with the heat or even heat sickness.
For some people, theirs may be other medical symptoms that occur while walking. If any of these happens, you may need to cut short your walk and get help, or a much better option of carrying a cell phone with you so you can call 911 if need be.
This may be an extreme danger but is also a possibility. This may happen in cases where there are serious accidents with no immediate help or a case of instant death for the pedestrian with no chance of fighting for life.
If it can be avoided, ‘do not walk on highways’ but in cases where it can’t be avoided, be sure to follow all guidelines as it applies to highway walking and in some cases crossing, and walk on the left side approaching traffic.