Here’s the scary truth: Halloween is one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians…especially children.
Pedestrian deaths are on the rise in general, reaching 5,987 in 2016, the highest number since 1990, according the Department of Transportation.
Parents and drivers can take these steps to reduce the risks.
“Halloween night is like a ‘perfect storm’ of risk because it involves darkness, a huge increase in pedestrian traffic, especially children, and all sorts of distractions,” ~ Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations – CR’s Auto Test Center.
You can take these seriously…they’re from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation.
Parents should accompany children younger than 12 years old.
Children should walk—not run—from house to house.
Children should stay on sidewalks instead of walking between cars or on lawns, where there could be tripping hazards.
Remind children to look for cars when crossing driveways.
Pedestrians shouldn’t assume they have the right of way, because motorists may not see them.
Parents and children should consider choosing costumes that are a lighter color and are easier for drivers to see. Adding reflective material to the front and back makes a costume easier to pick out; it can even be part of the design.
Avoid costumes that make it more difficult for the child to see, especially ones that include masks. If a mask is necessary, kids may want to remove it when moving between houses to avoid issues.
Give children a flashlight to walk with in the dark so they can be more easily seen by drivers. Glow sticks can help, too.
Children often behave unpredictably and can be difficult to see after dark…so drivers have a special duty to be alert on Halloween.
Drive slowly in and around neighborhoods and on residential streets.
Don’t drink and drive. Drunken-driving incidents increase on Halloween. (In the past five years, such fatalities have risen from 17 in 2011 to 55 in 2015, according to the NHTSA.)
Drivers should be responsible and understand that Halloween is especially dangerous.
Watch for children who may dart out into the street, and always yield to pedestrians. When drivers see one child, more are likely to be ready to cross.
If you’re driving children around for trick-or-treating, make sure they’re buckled up appropriately in a child safety seat or by using a seat belt. Do this each and every time they enter the car, and check to make sure they’re secure before driving to the next stop.
Pull over at safe locations to let children exit on the curb, away from traffic. Use your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your car.
Try to park in a spot where you won’t need to back up. But if you must, have an adult outside to make sure no children are in the way of your vehicle.
Don’t use a cell phone or other mobile device while driving. Pull over safely to check voice messages or texts if necessary.
By being cautious and mindful of safety this Halloween, you can make sure the holiday is a treat for all.