Halloween night has always been a wonderful and fun American tradition. Think of all the fun we had as kids carving jack-o-lanterns and wearing costumes. Walking around your neighborhood trick or treating and staying up late telling ghost stories while eating our candy. Halloween brings great memories and smiles to us all. However, there is a scarier side to Halloween. A side that most of us instinctually know about, but often does not give enough thought to. Until now that is.
Halloween night has predominantly always been an unsafe and dangerous night to be both a driver and a pedestrian. The reason being is that there are both a high number of drunk drivers out on the road and families walking the streets out trick or treating. Every year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds both motorist and pedestrians to exercise extra caution when traveling on and along the roads on Halloween night.
In 2011, 38 percent of fatalities on Halloween night occurred in a crash involving a driver or a motorcyclist with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. 11 percent of those fatalities involved a pedestrian. In fact, over the five year span from 2007 to 2011, 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver. With all that being said, pedestrians need to take extra caution when venturing out onto the streets at night. Listed below are a few safety guidelines that pedestrians should take into consideration.
- Be sure to always cross the street at corners if possible using crosswalks and traffic signals.
- Before you cross the street, be sure to always look both ways. In addition, you should continue to look both ways while making your journey across the street.
- Children under the age of 12 should always be accompanied by an adult.
- Kids should stay in areas that are well lit and trick or treat in groups.
- Make sure that costume masks do not hinder with vision.
- Have kids carry flashlights or glow sticks. Use reflective tape on costumes and candy bags.
A majority of kids and families will be out on the streets between 4 and 8 p.m., this is also statistically when the most severe vehicle/pedestrian collisions occur. Children often will dart out into the street and will cross the street anywhere. Most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections. With all that in mind, listed below are a few safety guidelines that all motorists should take into consideration.
- Slow down and be extra alert in residential areas.
- Avoid passing stopped vehicles. The driver may be dropping of children.
- Enter and exit driveways cautiously.
- If you see a drunk driver out on the road, be sure to alert the police.
- Yield to all pedestrians. They may not see your vehicle coming or are unsure how to cross the road safely.
- If you are pulling over to pick up or drop off your kids, be sure to turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
The safety guidelines shown above do not take a rocket scientist to understand them. In fact as responsible parents or guardians, we should all be teaching children these important tips at home. So please do your part and help spread the word about helping to keep children, motorists and ourselves safe out on Halloween night.