While Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year, it is also the night when the number of pedestrian fatalities quadruple. There are a number of reasons for the increase: children dressing in dark costumes with masks that may make it hard for them to see, the time when accidents occur during prime trick-or-treating time, and children running in and out of the streets.
The USDOT reports:
- Fatal collisions between motor vehicles and young pedestrians (under 15 years of age) happen most frequently between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. - during prime trick-or-treating time.
- 84% of deaths among young pedestrians occurred at non-intersection locations, primarily because children are more likely to dart across streets from mid-block.
Halloween is can also be dangerous because of the number of parties. Two-thirds of all the highway fatalities on Halloween are alcohol related.
Here are some safety driving tips to keep in mind this Halloween:
- Use hands free devices for your cell phone while driving through neighborhoods so you will be less distracted while driving.
- Pay attention to the speed limit in residential neighborhoods. Pay attention to what's happening on sidewalks and in the road. Watch out for children who may dart across streets, especially from between parked cars.
- Look around when pulling in and out of driveways.
- Do not assume children can see you. They most likely will not be paying attention. Be the adult and take that responsibility.
- Make sure to check that all lights on your car work before hitting the road.
- Do not try and pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children or may be aware of other children in the road you can't see.
- If you are driving a group of children, but remaining in the car, be sure to park at the curb and put on your hazard lights to alert other motorists.
- If you are driving to a Halloween party, wait till you are at your destination before putting a mask on. You don't want to impair your vision.
Be careful this Halloween, plan ahead and always designate a sober driver.
A few tips for parents to help drivers this Halloween:
- Make sure drivers are able to see your children. Give them flashlights or glow sticks. Pick out costumes that are bright and reflective, or add some reflective tape to their costumes.
- Instead of masks, have kids wear makeup. This will keep their vision clear and unobstructed allowing them to see their surroundings.
- Be sure children practice safe street crossing techniques: cross at the corner and look left, right and left again before crossing.
From the folks at Kalfus & Nachman, have a safe and fun Halloween!