Candy, costumes, decorations, haunted houses: Halloween is fun. However, as we see year after year, it can also be a dangerous time to be driving or walking around at night. Here are some things to keep in mind as you're enjoying your holiday this weekend.
Trick-or-Treaters: The kids come out to trick-or-treat usually between 4 and 8 p.m. This is also the time of day on Halloween when most severe vehicle/young pedestrian accidents occur. Not all children have an attentive guardian to keep them on the sidewalks at all times, and no child can be watched with a close enough eye to keep him or her completely out of danger. Some costumes also come with vision-obstructing masks, which can make it harder for the people wearing them to watch out for cars. Drive slowly in residential neighborhoods and watch for kids excitedly running from house to house.
According to Progressive Auto Insurance, most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections, so it's important to stay alert while driving. You may want to drive below the speed limit during peak trick-or-treat times as well, just to be safe. Trick-or-treaters may want to be extra careful and wear some reflective gear or carry a flash light too.
Other Vehicles (kids): Other vehicles may be dropping off children at trick-or-treat or party locations. Try not to get too impatient, and drive slowly. This can help you avoid hitting another car, as well as hitting a child that may be hopping out of the car. Also, if you are the one dropping someone off, use your hazard light; that's what it's there for!
Other Vehicles (impaired drivers): Halloween is not just for kids. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2009 and 2013, 43% of all traffic fatalities on Halloween night involved impaired drivers. In 2013 alone, 26% of all pedestrian fatalities on Halloween involved impaired drivers. Especially with Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, every driver should expect to see more drunk drivers on the roads.
Drunk driving is a crime, but it also carries with it the potential to seriously harm yourself or someone else. On Halloween, that includes the risk of injuring innocent children trying to enjoy their holiday.
Special Note: It is always important to stay focused while driving. Distracted driving is involved in a large percentage of accidents year-round. This weekend especially, however, it may be a good idea to stay off the cell phones and keep your eyes on the road.
Enjoy your Halloween Haunts and have a safe weekend!