Halloween is a fun time of year for children to dress up as scary monsters, eat plenty of candy, and, of course, go trick-or-treating around the block. But with all of the foot traffic that comes with Halloween, there is an inherent risk of pedestrian accidents. According to the safety group Safe Kids Worldwide®, the rate of fatal pedestrian accidents involving children doubles on Halloween when compared to the average day.
To help bring the number of pedestrian accidents on Halloween down to zero, we all need to do our part in thinking safety first during the holiday. Whether you are going to be driving across town on Halloween or going around the block to trick-or-treat, you can improve your safety by keeping just a handful of safety tips in mind.
Halloween Traffic Safety for Trick-or-Treaters
When you are trick-or-treating, you should always:
- Be bright: One of the best ways to reduce your risk of being hit by an inattentive driver is to make your presence bright and obvious. Trick-or-treaters should carry flashlights that are kept on whenever near the street. Giving children glowsticks attached to lanyards can make a fun and bright piece of decoration, too. Or you can integrate strips of integrated tape into your child’s outfit, such as shiny pieces of armor if your kid is being a superhero this year. Keep in mind that all of these safety tips apply to parents as well, who should be dressed brightly when accompanying a trick-or-treating child.
- Use crosswalks and sidewalks: You should always use sidewalks and pedestrian pathways when trick-or-treating. Do not go into the road. Your children might be frightened by some especially scary decorations or scare-actors at houses and want to run into the street to flee and hide. Before heading out for your trick-or-treat rounds, talk with your children, and let them know that entering the road is not permitted for any reason, even when they are feeling scared. You should only be in the street when crossing it, and you should only cross at dedicated crosswalks.
- Check driveways: Cars rolling down the street are not the only pedestrian hazard when trick-or-treating. You also need to pay attention to vehicles entering and exiting driveways. At each driveway, pause for a moment to see if any vehicles are approaching. If a driver is approaching, make eye contact with them to verify that they have noticed you and your family.
Halloween Safety for Motorists
When you leave home on Halloween night and take your car, you should always:
- Slow down: Most neighborhoods have speed limits of just 25 miles per hour. On Halloween night, you should plan to travel even slower than that wherever there might be trick-or-treaters. Slowing to 10 miles per hour when children are running around the sidewalk with buckets of candy is a good idea. Go even slower if the situation calls for it. It probably will not take you long to exit your neighborhood, and it will greatly reduce the chances of a child suffering a serious injury if they dash into the street without warning.
- Look for children: Speaking of children entering the street, you need to constantly look for kids and trick-or-treaters, no matter where you are. Some children might be traveling outside of their neighborhood to get candy, so you could still encounter them along major thoroughfares, parking lots, and so forth. Be especially vigilant for children trying to cross the street at crosswalks. You should also be aware that the most popular time to trick-or-treat in most places is twilight, just before the sunset. This time of day has a spooky feel to it without being pitch black, but it is still difficult to see through the long shadows where pedestrians might be.
- Pocket your smartphone: There is never a safe time to use your smartphone while driving, but it is especially dangerous on Halloween night. Keep your smartphone in your pocket and do not use it unless you have come to a complete stop away from the road. If you are heading to a party and need directions, then you can have a passenger use their GPS app to get you there. Your attention needs to always be on the road and sidewalks around you.
Our team from Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. in New Hampshire wishes you and your family the best Halloween possible. Please be safe and responsible, whether you are driving somewhere, trick-or-treating, or celebrating the season in another way.