Halloween is meant to be scary, but not when it comes to driving safety.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year.
With the increased number of pedestrians trick-or-treating, the risk of cell phone distraction while driving or walking and potentially impaired party goers behind the wheel, it makes for a frightening combination.
“Halloween night is unlike any other evening because of the number of pedestrians on the road at the same time,” said Susan Hiltz, Michigan public affairs director, AAA-The Auto Club. “There’s an increased risk of being injured or involved in a crash, and that’s before distractions and alcohol are added to the mix. We urge people who are out on Halloween to be alert, avoid distractions and always drive sober.”
AAA encourages motorists and parents to be vigilant and even more alert during this time. Some safety tips for motorists include:
• Ditch distractions such as cell phone use, texting and social media posting.
• Drive sober. Nearly 40 percent of fatal crashes on Halloween night involve a drunk driver. If you plan to drink, designate an alcohol-free driver.
• Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit.
• Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, curbs and between cars.
• Turn on your headlights to increase visibility– even in the daylight.
• Broaden your scanning of the driving area for pedestrians.
• Parents and Other Adults Caring for Children
• Provide adult supervision or responsible older youth supervision for children under age 12.
• Refrain from cell phone and social media use during trick-or-treat time.
• Discourage children from cell phone use and social media use while trick-or-treating
• Review safety precautions including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
• Plan and discuss the route your trick-or-treaters will follow.
• Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
Some safety tips for trick-or-treaters are:
• Be bright at night. Wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and treat buckets to improve visibility to motorists and others.
• Carry a flashlight.
• Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision. Avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.
• Watch the roads. Refrain from cell phone use, texting, photography and posting unless are in a safe place away from traffic.
• Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible.
• Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic if there are no sidewalks.
• 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.