(Willmar MN-) More hours of darkness this time of year can contribute to an increased number of crashes between people driving and walking, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation is urging travelers to use caution. October is National Pedestrian Safety Month.

Motor vehicle crashes have killed 45 pedestrians in 2021, which is nine more pedestrian deaths than this time last year. According to crash facts from the Department of Public Safety, 45 people died and 654 others were injured in crashes with vehicles while walking in 2020.

“One life lost on our roadways is too many. Fall and winter months are especially dangerous for people walking because we have fewer hours of daylight,” said Brian Sorenson, state traffic engineer. “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.”