It's really the perfect storm in a lot of bad ways.  During the fall season, a variety of factors come together that lead to an increased number of automobile crashes involving pedestrians.

First, there's an increase in the number of people walking on sidewalks or in the street.  With school back in session and the large number of after-school-related activities, more pedestrians - especially younger pedestrians - are out and about than at any other time of the year.

At the same time, the fall change of seasons brings about more hours of darkness or dusk than any other time of the year.  We spend a fair amount of the season leaving for work and school in the morning with a lack of sunlight, driving the commute home again in the late afternoon and evening with the same dark conditions.

That's why October is National Pedestrian Safety Month.  It's also the time of year that the Minnesota Department of Transportation urges drivers to use caution when on the roadways.

According to details shared by MNDOT, there have been more pedestrian-vehicle crashes in 2021 than this same time last year.  "Motor vehicle crashes have killed 45 pedestrians in 2021, which is nine more pedestrian deaths".  At the same time, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety details that "654 others were injured in crashes with vehicles while walking in 2020".

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The goal for the national campaign and for the Minnesota Department of Transportation is towards zero deaths or injuries.  Brian Sorenson, a Traffic Engineer with the State of Minnesota says:

"Fall and winter months are especially dangerous for people walking because we have fewer hours of daylight.  We can keep ourselves and each other safe when driving by slowing down and stopping for people crossing the road.  When you are walking, stay alert and look in all directions before crossing the street because drivers may not see you, day or night."

To help spread the awareness and help curtain pedestrian-vehicle accidents, the Minnesota Department of Transportation offers the following safety tips:

When driving:

  • Watch for people walking, anywhere and at any time
  • Stop for people crossing the road
  • Look in all directions before turning
  • Slow down for people
  • Before passing stopped vehicles, check for people crossing the road

When walking:

  • Be alert for turning vehicles
  • Look for vehicles in all lanes of traffic before crossing
  • People driving may not see you - day or night
  • Cross in a well-lit area when possible
  • Stand clear of parked cars and obstacles before crossing

For additional details about National Pedestrian Safety Month or safety tips from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, click here.  Additionally, the full Pedestrian Crosswalk Statute from the State of Minnesota is available for review by clicking here.

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