Christmas Lights May Cause Distracted Driving Accidents

With Christmas just around the corner, houses, shopping complexes, and office buildings all around, are decorated in shining lights, Santa sleighs, and reindeer. While receiving gifts may be most peoples' favorite part about the upcoming holidays, Christmas decorations are another cause for excitement, as they bring out creativity and even competition, to see who has the best displays. In fact, the whole premise of the movie Deck The Hallsis, "two neighbors having it out after one of them decorates his house for the holidays so brightly that it can be seen from space!" Visibility from space may be a stretch, but many businesses, homes, and even cities in Michigan, go all out in lighting splendor during the holidays. Driving to see these Christmas light spectacles is a very popular Christmas pastime. 

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In fact, there are multiple holiday light displays throughout the Metro Detroit area which hold up traffic and draw crowds of pedestrians. Downtown Rochester, Michigan is famous for its outstanding light display throughout that connects all downtown storefronts. Restaurants and small shops are decorated in different colors, which gives the entire strip an amazing glow. Citizens of Michigan can view this sight by driving through downtown but also enjoy parking, walking around, and taking pictures with their family and friends. For those who don't like to leave the comfort and warmth of their car, Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe is a popular holiday decoration destination. The houses in this neighborhood are known for the extravagant Christmas lights and people from all across the Metro Detroit area come to see them.

While the light shows and displays are so dazzling, it is for the reason that they are eye catching that they may also be dangerous. Looking at lights while in a car causes attention to veer away from the road and may in turn cause drivers to become involved in distracted driving car accidents. These distracted driving car crashes might not only involve other cars, but in such high traffic areas, may lead to distracted driving pedestrian accidents. A few weeks ago, in Massachusetts, a local news outlet reported that a 62-year-old man was hit by a car while crossing the street to view a popular Christmas light display that is put up every year. He was hit by a 23-year-old who was driving through the light display. This is just one example of the many distracted driving car accidents that can occur relating to both pedestrians and drivers during the holiday season. And although that distracted driving pedestrian accident occurred in Massachusetts, similar winter car crashes can occur to families talking selfies in downtown Rochester or couples driving through Lake Shore Drive.  

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Whether you are a pedestrian or a driver, one thing to always remember is to be aware of your surroundings and know that your actions can affect the lives of others. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day 9 people are killed and around 1,000 people are injured due to distracted driving. That's over 12,000 people who get injured because of distracted driving! 

If you plan on driving to see holiday lights this year, choosing a designated driver, as you would to avoid drunk driving, may be a good idea. A designated driver would not look at the holiday decorations and instead would focus on the road so the rest of the vehicle's occupants can enjoy Christmas spectacles without worry. If you plan to take in the holiday spirit via walking, try to wear reflective clothing and move in a group so as to be visible, and try to stay on sidewalks and walkways, so as to avoid stepping in the road. While there is no surefire way to avoid being involved in a distracted driving car accident or a distracted pedestrian crash, by staying alert and staying in your lane (or sidewalk), any potential accidents can hopefully be avoided.

Pedestrians and drivers who want to take pictures of the holiday displays should be aware that cell phones are a huge contributor to distracted driving and adding Christmas lights just begging to be photographed and tweeted into the mix, doesn’t help. Getting the perfect Instagram picture is not worth a call to a car accident lawyer. Telling your accident attorney that you got hit by a car because you walked into the road while taking a selfie with Santa in the background not only sounds embarrassing, but may cause you deal with a ridiculous number of Michigan car insurance legal issues. 


The holiday season comes with an infectious spirit that causes people to drink eggnog, go caroling, and decorate their houses with lights. While driving around town to look at holiday light displays is a popular event, drivers and pedestrians should always remember to be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to prevent distracted driving car accidents. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC, at 844.MI.FIRM, for a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney.