Earlier this month, 66-year-old Dennis English was struck and killed by an 18-wheeler truck while attempting to cross Interstate 35 in Odessa. The Texas man, who was a visitor to the city, failed to see a nearby pedestrian overpass.
In most states around the country, It is unlawful for pedestrians to cross interstates and major highways. Why? Cars and trucks are traveling so fast on these large roads that the danger of fatal collisions is much too high. Crossing these multiple-lane highways is even more dangerous than walking on the shoulder – and dozens of people die each year when they believe that they can safely cross four or more lanes of quickly moving traffic. It is unlawful for pedestrians to cross interstates.
First and foremost, while pedestrians can easily judge the speed of a slow-moving car and cross a smaller road safely, people have significantly more trouble judging the approach of a car going sixty or even seventy miles per hour. At the same time, multiple lanes of traffic and high volumes of traffic can make a safe crossing exponentially harder. Finally, cars driving on large freeways, highways, and interstates are not expecting pedestrians to cross in front of them like they may expect on smaller roads or in urban environments – a crossing pedestrian may come as a surprise and they may not have time to brake or avoid the accident.
If you are in a populated area near an interstate, realize that there is most probably a nearby bridge or tunnel in which you can safely cross to the other side. And if you are stranded on a highway or interstate because of car trouble or a related emergency, do not try to cross the interstate to find assistance.