On Halloween, your neighborhood will literally be swarming with children, and it's your job to be sure they take their treats home safely. Trick-or-treating, a fun-filled activity that little ghosts and goblins look forward to each October, can quickly turn into a night of horror if someone is hurt.
For motorists, the scariest part of Halloween are children dressed in dark colors and in costumes that cover their eyes out walking on streets and roadways at dusk when many adults are still driving home from work.
Sadly, Halloween is a dangerous night. While excited trick-or-treaters may forget the rules of the road and be oblivious to the hazards, we, as motorists must be vigilant.
The CDC found that the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5-14) is four times higher on Halloween evening than any other evening of the year.
Data from the USDOT shows that:
• Fatal collisions between motor vehicles and young pedestrians (under 15 years of age) happen most frequently between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. — prime trick-or-treating time.
• 84% 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).
Halloween is also one of the year’s most dangerous holidays on the road due to alcohol-related crashes caused by those who drink and drive after parties and festivities. Two-thirds of all highway fatalities at Halloween are alcohol-related. Don’t even think about getting behind the wheel if you’re impaired.
To help everyone bring home treats — not tragedies — follow these tips for a safe Halloween:
• Don't use a cell phone while driving through neighborhoods. A single distraction could lead to a tragedy.
• Stay well below the posted speed limit.
• Pay attention to what's happening on sidewalks and roadways. Watch for children darting across streets, especially between parked cars.
• 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.
• Drivers should also check that all lights on their car work.
• Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
• If you're driving a group of children, but staying in the running vehicle at the curb, be sure to put on your hazard lights to alert other motorists.
• And if you're driving to a Halloween party, put that mask on after you park the car.
Parents can help motorists, too:
• Make sure drivers can see the children. Give them flashlights and glow sticks. Dress kids in bright, reflective clothing or use reflective tape on their costumes.
• Use makeup, rather than masks, so children have a clear, unobstructed view of their surroundings.
• Be sure children know how to cross a street -- look left, right and left again before crossing.
• Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
• Accompany your children as they trick or treat.