Halloween is a fun night for children across the country — but unfortunately, it can also be very dangerous. AAA East Central advises parents, motorists, and adults who are choosing to celebrate the holiday to take some extra precautions this year to keep everybody safe.
“Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, motorists and parents must be even more alert,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East Central. “Halloween crashes occur primarily between six and seven p.m. during the evening commute home and while young children are going door-to-door.”
As children take to the streets on Oct. 31, their risk of being injured increases greatly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle than on any other day of the year.
To keep roadways safer for pedestrians this Halloween, AAA East Central offers these tips:
– Trick-or-treat together. AAA recommends that parents accompany young trick-or-treaters at least until the age of 12.
– Choose costumes wisely. Make sure your child is visible by selecting a light colored costume, or by adding reflective tape. Choose disguises that don’t obstruct vision and opt for non-toxic face paint instead of masks. Check and adjust the length of costumes to avoid tripping.
– Review trick-or-treating precautions. This includes pedestrian and traffic safety rules. Plan and discuss the route your trick-or-treaters will follow. Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never enter a stranger’s home or garage.
– Always walk on sidewalks, if available. If there are no sidewalks, walk as far to the left of the road as possible, facing traffic. Give everyone a glow stick or flashlight to help them see and be seen by drivers.
– Cross streets only at the corner. Never cross between parked cars or mid-block. Look left, right, and left again, and be sure approaching cars come to a full stop before stepping into the roadway.
– Drivers should stay off residential streets. This is where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.
– Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit. This will allow extra time to react to children who may dart into the street. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if they are hit by a car traveling at 35 mph, compared to 25 mph.
– Look for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. This particularly applies during popular trick-or-treating hours, from 5:30 – 9 p.m. Use extra caution when entering or exiting driveways or alleys.
– Remove distractions. Avoid any distractions that may take your attention away from driving, such as cell phones.
Halloween is also an increasingly popular holiday for adults to dress up and host or attend parties. With the increase in pedestrian traffic, AAA offers party-goers the following advice:
– Designate a sober driver in advance. If you are intending to drink alcohol, plan ahead to get home safely by selecting a designated driver or ensuring that a cab, a ride-sharing or car service is available. Never ride with a driver who has been drinking.
– Consider an overnight stay. If attending a party at a friend’s home, consider asking to stay overnight. If participating in festivities in a downtown or commercial area, look into hotel accommodations within walking distance.
– Do not let impaired guests drive. If hosting a party, remind guests to plan ahead and designate a sober driver, offer alcohol-free beverages, and do not allow impaired guests to drive. Prepare a list of car service companies in advance to have ready, should guests need to call one.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 80 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.