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Drivers Beware: As days become shorter, pedestrians face increased danger

Michigan Auto Law Attorney Brandon Hewitt said there is good news and bad news about the trends when it comes to pedestrian accidents.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Like it or not, the days are getting shorter and will continue to do so until late December. We change our clocks in November so it’ll start getting dark outside even earlier.  

A reduction in daylight hours adds to the dangers that pedestrians already face. Michigan Auto Law Attorney Brandon Hewitt said there is good news and bad news about the trends when it comes to pedestrian accidents.  

He said, in 2021, pedestrian-involved crashes in Michigan were down nearly 21% since 2019, from 2,260 to 1,790. However, pedestrian deaths due to car accidents continue to increase. According to Hewitt, pedestrian deaths increased 22.8% from 2019 to 2021.

Hewitt cautioned drivers to be careful at crosswalks. He said pedestrians in the crosswalk and intersection generally have the right of way. MCL 257.612(1)(a), (c), and (d))  Hewitt had advice for drivers in improving pedestrian safety:

  • No speeding
  • Drive at a speed that is appropriate for the conditions (factoring in weather and daytime or nighttime driving)
  • Drive at a speed that allows the driver to stop safely when necessary
  • No texting while driving
  • No distracted driving
  • No driving while intoxicated
  • Obey all traffic signs/signals
  • Slow down in areas where pedestrian traffic is high
  • Try to make eye contact with pedestrians
  • Remember that if the car in front of you stops, it could be stopping for a pedestrian – so do not try to pass unless you have first determined that you can do safely

And for pedestrians? 

  • Cross at crosswalks – In Michigan in 2021, “crossing not at an intersection” was the most deadly thing pedestrians could do, accounting 31.7% of all pedestrian fatalities caused by motor vehicle crashes.
  • Be careful between 6pm and 7pm – In Michigan in 2021, the hour between 6:00pm and 6:59pm had the most pedestrian-involved automobile crashes.
  • Be careful on Sundays – Sunday was the deadliest for pedestrians in Michigan in 2021.
  • Where sidewalks are provided, the law prohibits a pedestrian from walking “upon the main traveled portion of the highway.” (MCL 257.655(1))
  • If there are no sidewalks and a pedestrian must walk in the road, he or she must “when practicable, walk on the left side of the highway facing traffic which passes nearest.” (MCL 257.655(1)) 

For more information, or to contact an attorney, call 833-411-MICH or visit www.MichiganAutoLaw.com.

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