What are Tennessee’s Pedestrian Laws

pedestrian crosswalk signWhen a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, it often results in the pedestrian suffering serious life-threatening injuries. In order for pedestrians to stay safe while walking near traffic, it is important to know and follow Tennessee’s pedestrian laws.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian-auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The Knoxville car accident attorneys of Greg Coleman Law will investigate your claim and work to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

Using Sidewalks

Tennessee’s pedestrian laws require pedestrians to use a sidewalk while traveling alongside a roadway whenever one is available, according to TCA-55-8-138.

However, if a sidewalk is not available, pedestrians should walk along the shoulder of the road facing the direction of traffic. Try to keep as far from the road on the shoulder as possible.

Intersections and Crossing Streets

In Tennessee, pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles in any marked crosswalk. If a driver approaches an intersection where a pedestrian is lawfully using a crosswalk, the driver must slow down or stop his or her vehicle to give the right of way to the pedestrian.

However, every pedestrian crossing a roadway must obey the control signals that appear on a traffic control device at a crosswalk.

When the “walk” signal is activated on a traffic control device, pedestrians have the right of way and may cross the roadway in the direction of the signal. When the “do not walk” signal is activated pedestrians may not cross. However, if the pedestrian is partially through the walkway, he or she should move to the sidewalk.

If a pedestrian is crossing the roadway outside a crosswalk, he or she must yield the right of way to motorists, according to TCA 59-835(a). Jaywalking, or crossing the street in an illegal manner, is against the law and crosswalks should always be used if they are available.

Pedestrians cannot cross roadways within 10 feet in front of a vehicle that is letting passengers off. You may only do so if a signal indicates crossing is allowed or a police officer directs you to cross.


Pedestrians are not allowed to solicit rides or business in Tennessee near or on public roadways, highways and alleyways. This means it is illegal to solicit:

  • Employment
  • Business opportunities
  • Monetary contributions
  • Rides (hitchhiking)

Walking Under the Influence

Traveling by foot while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous. It is illegal for pedestrians to walk along highways if they are impaired by drugs or alcohol to the point of becoming a hazard.

Drugs and alcohol impair judgement, motor functions, coordination and vision, making it difficult to walk safely along dangerous or busy roadways. This will increase the likelihood of being injured in a pedestrian-related accident with a vehicle.

Get Help After a Pedestrian Accident

The injuries pedestrians suffer after being struck by a vehicle are often severe and may result in life-long pain and suffering or death.

If you were injured in a pedestrian-related auto accident caused by another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. The experienced Knoxville personal injury attorneys of Greg Coleman Law will investigate your claim and help you pursue the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your claim. We do not charge upfront fees and we only require payment if we recover compensation for your claim.

Call (865) 247-0080 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form now.