As more than 41 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 get ready to trick-or-treat this Halloween, their risk of being injured by motorists greatly increases. In fact, past AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analysis of pedestrian fatality data has shown Halloween night (between 4 p.m. and midnight) is the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians. Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, motorists and parents must be even more alert.
Here are some tips for helping keep young ones safe on Halloween:
- Slow down! A pedestrian is nearly twice as likely to be killed if they’re hit by a car traveling 30 mph, versus a car traveling at 25 mph, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Just 5 mph can be the difference between life and death. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to children who may dart into the street.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Watch for trick-or-treaters. Be aware that they may not be paying attention to traffic and may cross mid-block or between parked cars. Scan the road ahead.
- Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
- Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
- Plan ahead. Check Beggars’ Night dates for municipalities you drive through each day.
- Ensure an adult or older, responsible youth is available to supervise children under age 12.
- Plan and discuss the route your trick-or-treaters will follow.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
- Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never enter a stranger’s home or garage.
- Establish a time for children to return home.
- Tell children not to eat any treats until they get home.
- Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
- Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and visible with retro-reflective material.
- Ensure costumes fit well. Watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.
- Be bright at night – wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and treat buckets to improve visibility to motorists and others.
- Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of costumes to help avoid tripping.
- Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.
- Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries and place it face down in the treat bucket to free up one hand. Never shine it into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
- Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
- Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
- Cross streets only at the corner and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
- Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
- Tell your parents where you are going.
PARTYGOERS AND HOSTS
Nearly half (45 percent) of Halloween crash fatalities involve alcohol-impaired drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That includes about a quarter (23 percent) of Halloween pedestrian fatalities. When celebrating this Halloween, AAA recommends:
- Make plans to get home safely. Designate a sober driver, call a cab or ride sharing service, or stay overnight.
- Host responsibly. Ohio’s host liability law holds those who serve alcohol liable for injury or death that occurs due to their drunken guests. When hosting a party, offer alternatives to alcohol.
So whether you’re a motorist, a parent, trick-or-treater, partygoer or host it’s everyone’s responsibility to be on the lookout. Follow these tips and enjoy a safe Halloween.