On March 6, Garrett Miller, a 26 year old man, was killed while walking across Interstate 65 South in Brentwood. He was crossing from the shoulder to the median near mile marker 69 just before 8 pm. WKRN News Nashville reports that he was struck by a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban right before he was struck again by a 1999 Ford Econoline Van and drug for a short distance.
Garrett was a Nashville native, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and band leader of a local Christian Folk group called Vonagarden (“vona” meaning “to hope” in Icelandic). Garrett’s touching music and ability can be seen here.
Garrett’s father, Grammy award winning Native American singer-songwriter Bill Miller told WSMV Nashville News Channel 4, “I used to watch the news and I’d see somebody else lose their son or their daughter in an accident and I’d feel bad for them,” Bill Miller said. “I didn’t know what it was like until it happened to me. Faith flipped around. God has given me compassion I never had before.”
Just like Bill, a lot of us think that tragedies like this will never happen to us. The reason his son was crossing the highway are still unknown, but there’s no good reason to be on foot on or near the highway.
Crossing a highway on foot or walking across a highway is one of the most dangerous decisions a person can make because vehicles driving along on a highway are not expecting to see pedestrians outside of their vehicles. Even if you are on the shoulder walking, your very presence might stun a driver, causing them to over-correct to steer clear of you and cause a collision.
Is it illegal to walk on the highway?
Yes, it is illegal to walk across the highway. There are some exceptions where walking along the highway is unavoidable, such as a broken down vehicle. However, even in these situations, you must walk directly to the nearest exit should you be unable to call for help.
But sometimes unexpected things and poor planning pull us out of our vehicles onto the roadway. Maybe you know someone or have seen someone get out of their car and halt highway traffic to save stranded drivers or rescue animals in distress in the middle of the road. And though it is illegal in the state of Tennessee, sometimes you will see people that do not have means of transportation walking along the highway because it is the quickest route to their destination. Even worse, if you’ve drove down our own Briley Parkway you might even be familiar with seeing cyclists riding their bikes on the shoulder where cars sometimes speed at an upwards of 70 mph. All of these reasons which may bring you out of your vehicle (though they may seem necessary considering your circumstances) are not worth losing your life or risking the lives of others on the road because of your actions.
If you see someone or an animal in any of these unsafe situations, the best advice is to safely exit the highway, park, and call 9-1-1 or your local transportation authority which will have the proper training and equipment, and can provide these individuals with a safe escort out of harm’s way.
What if your vehicle breaks down
If you must leave your vehicle for reasons such as car breakdowns and flat tires, than do it as safely as possible by following these guidelines:
If your vehicle breaks down on the right shoulder, exit the vehicle through the passenger door. Climb over the guard rail or walk far into the ravine or high onto a hill on the side of the highway away from traffic and call for help. Road crews will help to set up flares and detour traffic away from your vehicle so that it can be safely worked on or towed away.
What if your vehicle breaks down in a live lane
If your vehicle breaks down on the middle or the left side of the highway in a live lane, immediately turn on your hazard lights. Exit the vehicle and stand a ways in front of it and call for help. Watch traffic vigilantly to protect yourself from cars moving around you and vehicle.
As always if you or a loved one has been involved in a wreck or were a pedestrian who was injured as a result of negligent driver call the experienced car accident and wrongful death attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm today. We have the resources and the reputation of fighting for real people and getting incredible results. Find out what the insurance companies don’t want you to know. Call us for a free consultation today. We fight for you. (615) 425-2500.
Nashville personal injury attorney Rocky McElhaney is a well-known and respected lawyer as well as published author, helping Tennesseans through difficult times since the turn of the century. Rocky builds friendships with his clients, not just professional relationships. Rocky McElhaney is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell, has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has been awarded Best Lawyer in Nashville by the Nashville Scene Readers’ Poll
The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm represents people who have been injured by car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, negligent premises owners, defective products and many other forms of negligence throughout the state of Tennessee. The firm also represents clients in the areas of workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability claims.