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 everyone safe.
“Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, it’s imperative for motorists and parents to be more alert,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East Central. “Halloween crashes occur primarily between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. during the evening commute home when young children are going door-to-door.”
As little ghosts and goblins 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 the following tips for parents and trick-or treaters:
Ditch the distractions. Pedestrians can be distracted by cell phones as well as motorists, and young children will emulate the behaviors of their guardians.
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.
Review trick-or-treating precautions. 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.
Tips for motorists:
Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit. 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.
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 79 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.