Halloween Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips from AskPatty
According to KidsAndCars.org and the CDC, children are more than four times as likely to be killed by a car while trick-or-treating on Halloween night than at any other time of the year, and two-thirds of Halloween highway fatalities are alcohol related.
Halloween is a dangerous night, but it doesn't have to be that way if you follow some simple safety tips.
Because excited trick-or-treaters may forget the rules of the road and be oblivious to the hazards, AskPatty reminds motorists to be uber vigilant. Be especially careful between 4 and 8 p.m., when most severe vehicle/young pedestrian collisions happen. According to KidsandCars, approximately 85% of deaths among young pedestrians occurred at non-intersection locations (indicating children are most likely to dart and dash from mid-block into the street).
- Look both ways before crossing the street. (Ideally, you should look right, left, and then right again.)
- Only cross at street corners, stoplights or crosswalks.
- Never cross against a green (or yellow) light.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of a stopped car and wait for them to wave you on.
- Stick to the sidewalk between houses. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the far edge of the road facing traffic.
- Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards and never walk near lit candles or luminaries.
- Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
This doesn't mean you should be scared to let your kids out of the house that night, but that you need to make sure they understand how to be a safe pedestrian. Help them be safer and brighten them up. Fasten reflective tape to their costumes and treat bags to make sure they are visible. Give them flashlights with fresh batteries and glow sticks, to help them see and so drivers/others can see them.
- All motorists need to be especially alert and cautious when driving on Halloween because of the increased number of pedestrians walking the streets.
- Watch for children darting out from between parked cars and into the street. Kids can cross the street anywhere, and most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. Yield to all pedestrians.
- Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways
- Do not assume children can see you or are paying attention. You need to take that responsibility.
- At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
- Don't use a cell phone while driving through neighborhoods. A single distraction could lead to a tragedy.
- Discourage teens from driving on Halloween. There are too many hazards and distractions for inexperienced drivers.
- Stay well below the posted speed limit. Drive slowly, and don't pass stopped vehicles. The driver might be dropping off children.
- Communicate with other drivers. Always use your turn signals. And if you have to pull over to drop off or pick up your kids, turn on your hazard lights.
- Drivers should also check that all lights on their car work.
And most important of all: Don't even think about getting behind the wheel if you've been drinking!