While not everyone in Michigan is a driver, everyone is, at some point, a pedestrian, whether they are walking across a parking lot, walking to the bus stop or walking to work.

No matter where they are, pedestrians are at risk of a collision with a vehicle.

Accident statistics

According to the Michigan State Police’s Criminal Justice Information Center, in 2018, there were 1,979 pedestrian injuries and 148 fatalities in the state. The most common reasons for these, when the reasons were documented by police, were:

  • Failing to yield
  • Driving carelessly or recklessly
  • Disregarding traffic control
  • Speeding
  • Being unable to stop
  • Backing up improperly

While some of these hazardous actions were taken by drivers, some were also the result of pedestrian mistakes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns drivers and pedestrians that safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Driver responsibilities

Drivers should always be on the watch for pedestrians, especially when it is dark or there is bad weather. Before crossing a crosswalk or intersection, drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop, and they should always yield to people in the crosswalks. Stopping far enough back from the crosswalk will give other drivers the ability to see the pedestrians as well.

Obeying speed limits, never driving impaired or distracted and always backing up with extra caution are ways drivers can prevent pedestrian accidents.

Pedestrian responsibilities

Drivers may be alert but still unable to stop if a pedestrian steps out into traffic without looking both ways. Using sidewalks and crosswalks whenever possible, obeying traffic signals and crossing at intersections lessens the risk of a collision. Pedestrians may be more visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing and carrying a flashlight at night.

Pedestrians should watch for vehicles and try to make eye contact with drivers before moving into the road. Impaired or distracted walking can lead to a crash, and so can wearing headphones. It is just as important for pedestrians to be alert as it is for drivers.