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. 

Grosse Pointe Teen Crashes In Lake St. Clair

On February 26, 2017, 16-year-old Nolan Mullins crashed into Lake St. Clair after his mother's Ford Flex steering wheeled reportedly locked up on him causing him to veer toward the lake at 30 miles per hour. "It felt like the tire locked," Nolan told The Detroit Free Press. "I tried shaking the wheel, and I couldn't get it to move. It wouldn't move. I had this freak-out moment," he said. "By the time I slammed on the brakes, I wasn't getting any traction."

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The Ford Flex crashed into the lake at a 33-degree angle and began to sink. Nolan first tried to escape through the driver side door without success, and then tried the windows, which successfully rolled down and allowed him to swim out of the vehicle after unbuckling himself. "If I'd waited another five seconds, I think I would have lost the power windows," Nolan said.

Once he was free of the vehicle, Nolan swam to the hood of the car so he could signal for help. That is when Lisa Hughes, an elementary school teacher, happened to be driving by and saw the crowd of cars nearby where Nolan had crashed.  Hughes quickly jumped into action by ordering her daughter to call 911 while she encouraged Nolan to give her his parents' phone number. Hughes informed Nolan's mother about the situation and alerted her that the authorities were on their way. 

Ford Flex Recall

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By the time the U.S. Coast Guard reached Nolan, he had mild hypothermia and was taken to St. Johns Hospital to be treated. It is currently unclear what exactly caused the Flex to malfunction, but it is known that the Ford issued a recall on nearly 400,000 vehicles back in June 2015, which included the Ford Flex for power steering issues.

Mr. Nolan was fortunate in being able to escape from his vehicle without the power windows seizing up on him. It is important to remember that others might not be so lucky. Therefore, all drivers and anyone with access to a motor vehicle should remember to regularly check to see if any recalls have been issued for their vehicle. In regards to Ford models, anyone who may be under the recall is encouraged to contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332 to avoid any potential accidents in the future. All other drivers are encouraged to go to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA)'s website and enter their vehicle identification number (VIN) number, to find out if their vehicle is safe to drive. It only takes one minute to use the NHTSA's recall look up, which means that it could only take one minute to avoid a car accident and ultimately save lives.


Situations like the one Mr. Nolan experienced can be very scary, especially since his malfunctioning car did not lead to a typical motor vehicle accident but a potential drowning. Therefore, car drivers and owners should take precautions to check for vehicle recalls, and in case of a recall, get their vehicles serviced and fixed as soon as possible in order to avoid accidents like this from happening. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to a malfunctioning vehicle or a car under recall, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation today.