Halloween may be one of the most fun holidays of the year, but it’s also consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous for pedestrians.
In the autumn, days get shorter and it becomes increasingly more difficult to see pedestrians walking during the evening hours, which is when a majority of fatalities resulting from persons being struck by cars occur. Additionally, AAA studies have found that fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes increase nearly 50 percent when Halloween falls on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
This year, Oct. 31 falls on a Saturday, which means there is an increased likelihood that some Halloween revelers will be consuming alcohol. Nearly 40 percent of fatal crashes on the holiday involve a drunk driver and one-third of Halloween crash fatalities involve a pedestrian, said Nathan Warren Kigenyi, AAA’s manager of Traffic Safety Research and Analysis.
We’ve put together some Halloween safety tips for parents and their children to ensure that their trick-or-treating experience is not only a good time, but also a safe one.
- Be seen. Use reflective tape on costumes and trick-or-treat bags. If possible, wear light colors and carry flashlights or glow sticks for increased visibility.
- Pick your costume carefully. Don’t wear an outfit that obstructs your vision and be sure your costume is comfortable for walking in and doesn’t include any part that drags on the ground.
- Cross streets safely. Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing streets or driveways. Younger children should always be accompanied by an adult or responsible, older sibling. Older children should be given boundaries and communicate with their parents during the course of their route.
- Avoid residential areas. These are the locales where trick-or-treaters are most likely to be roaming the streets. If you must drive through a residential street, be sure to go more slowly than usual and keep an eye out for children darting out into the street.
- Obey traffic signals and signs. This one is a given, but you should pay extra attention to slow down at stop signs and begin moving slowly after a red light turns to green, due to the likely presence of children on the streets.
- Avoid driving distractions. Again, this is an evergreen tactic you should take 365 days a year. Be sure not to use your cell phone while driving or any other device that might take your attention away from the road.
- Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking. Find an alternative, whether it’s a designated driver or a taxi, but don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve consumed alcohol.