Halloween is a day synonymous with costumes, candy, and spooky fun for children across the U.S. When you think of the holiday, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely kids running around the neighborhood at night, dressed up and asking the neighbors for candy.
However, along with the sugar rushes and ghoulish decorations, dangers while driving can also increase. So, this Halloween, if you plan on hopping in your car to get to your trick or treating destination, be sure to read this first.
What Makes It So Dangerous?
According to statistics by SafeKids Worldwide, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a vehicle and seriously injured or killed between 4:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M. on Halloween than any other time of the year. More than 80% of these incidences occur at non-intersection locations.
This is most likely due to a number of different factors. For one, children are in costumes – sometimes dark – and running around more than usual after sunset. Furthermore, many of the children out at this late hour are very young, and may not completely comprehend the rules of the road yet.
What Can You Do?
There are precautions we can all make when driving on Halloween in order to avoid being involved in an accident. If you have to drive after sunset, take extra caution when driving through neighborhoods and other areas where trick or treating might be more popular.
Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully – As soon as you get into the driver’s seat, it is important to stay extra alert. Look behind you before pulling out of parking spaces and driveways, and exit these spots slower than you normally would.
Drive slower than you normally would – It is a good idea to check the speed limit in any given area, and subtract 10 from it. If you normally drive at 25 MPH in your residential area, drive at 15 MPH. Slow down even further when driving around bends and turning into new streets.
Keep your eyes peeled – This means put all your electronic devices out of sight, and focus on the road ahead. Your peripheral vision is even more important on this night. If you think you see any movement out of the corner of your eye, come to a safe stop, and take a look around your vehicle to make sure no children are running about.
Do not rely on crosswalks – Children will not wait until they come upon a crosswalk to walk (or run) across the road, and so you should not cruise along normally in between them either. Children will be running through the streets wherever they please, so again, remember to stay extremely alert and slow down if you see a group of children on the sidewalk ahead.
Use your mirrors and hazard lights – If you are driving children around on Halloween, let them know ahead of time to wait until you give them permission to exit the car after you have arrived at your destination. Look in your mirrors before allowing children to open the car doors, and turn on your hazard signals to alert other drivers that you are stopped.
Make sure all other drivers in your house are aware of the dangers of driving on Halloween, especially if you have teens or new drivers around. If you have children who will be trick or treating, ask them to stick to well-lit areas, always walk in groups, and give them flashlights to use once the sun has set. Go over cross walk and traffic signal rules with them ahead of time, and remind children to look left, right, and left again before crossing any road.
Halloween can be a safe and enjoyable holiday for the entire family when driving precautions are taken. Simply make sure all family members have heightened awareness to the dangers of driving, and have a Happy Halloween.