How’s this for a truly terrifying fact? Halloween is one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians, especially children.
About 43 percent more pedestrians die on Halloween than on non-holiday autumn evenings, according to JAMA Pediatrics. To make sure Halloween is a treat for everyone, follow these tips for driving safely and keeping your little trick-or-treaters out of harm’s way.
If you’re driving on Halloween:
- Use your headlights to help you watch for children, even if it’s not completely dark out. Many trick-or-treaters hit the streets at dusk or sundown, when it can be difficult to see.
- Drive slowly and use additional caution when you’re driving in residential areas. Children can dart into the street at any moment.
- Always yield to pedestrians. They may be caught up in the trick-or-treating fun, trying to keep up with friends, and not paying attention to traffic.
- Keep your eyes on the road and avoid distractions, including cell phones or other devices.
- Don’t drink and drive — ever. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 42 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities on Halloween night involve drunk driving. If you’re consuming any alcohol, arrange to have a designated sober driver.
- Don’t pass other cars stopped in the street, even if you don’t see pedestrians nearby. These drivers could be picking up or dropping off children that you can’t see from your angle.
- Use your turn signals or hazard lights to communicate your driving intentions with other drivers and pedestrians.
- If you’re driving children around to trick-or-treat, make sure each child is wearing a seatbelt or that they are properly buckled into their car seat every time they’re in the car.
- Pull over to the side of the road to let children out of your car. Make sure they check their surroundings before opening car doors to get out.
- If your child needs to ride in a car seat, avoid having them wear their costume in the car, especially if it’s padded, puffy or has hard surfaces. These kinds of costumes prevent car seats from securing your child properly. Dress your child in his or her costume when you arrive at the destination.
If you’ll be walking with trick-or-treaters on the street, follow these tips to stay safe:
- Stay vigilant in supervising the children in your charge, always watching for cars and keeping an eye on children.
- Where possible, children should stay on sidewalks, rather than walking in the street. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
- Make sure your children are as visible as possible. Have them carry flashlights, wear glow sticks on their wrists and ankles, or place reflective tape on costumes, especially if wearing dark-colored costumes.
- Ensure you and your children look both ways before crossing the street
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