Most people love Halloween. For many children, especially, running from house to house getting free candy is a hard holiday to beat. Sadly, Halloween is among the most dangerous nights of the year for a pedestrian. Because of this, Halloween pedestrian safety is of the utmost importance. The Utah Department of Health’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program points out that “children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.” Because of the sudden increase of children on the streets, many drivers do not make the appropriate adjustments to their driving behavior. Similarly, because of changing fall light conditions, it gets darker earlier. On Halloween, kids are out on the road in the dark conditions making them hard to see for many drivers.
We would like to make the following suggestions for both drivers and pedestrians to stay safe this Halloween.
Slow down! We know you are anxious to get to a friend or family member’s house. However, on Halloween, the excitement of the holiday can cause kids to run from house to house, or even out into the road. Speeding reduces your reaction time, so if you are speeding down the road and child runs in front of your car, your chances of stopping before hitting someone decrease.
Never use your cell phone while driving. As mentioned earlier, you never know when a child might run out into a road on Halloween night. Even a momentary glance at your phone at the wrong moment can have devastating results. Unfortunately, as drivers, our misbehavior is not usually corrected until its too late. Our cell-phone use can be self-reinforcing. For example, if you glance at your phone while you are driving and nothing happens, you might conclude that looking at your phone while driving is not really that bad. It has worked before. You looked at your phone, and an accident didn’t come from it. However, this is flawed thinking. Using your cell phone while driving is not good just because nothing bad has happened. It only takes one second for something to go wrong.
If you see someone driving who you suspect could be drunk, contact local law officials. There are few things on the road more dangerous than a drunk driver. According to an article featured in the Chicago Tribune, a fatal drunk-driving crash is more likely to occur on Halloween than on New Year’s Eve.
Be sure your headlights are on. Headlights not only allow you to see more, but they also help pedestrians see you coming. Even during daylight hours, turning on your lights can help other people see your car coming. This action might prevent kids from running out in the road.
Always stay on the sidewalk. The sidewalk is designated for pedestrians. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration recommends that if there is not a sidewalk available, then walk facing traffic, as far to the side of the road as possible. Similarly, you should operate under the assumption that the drivers coming toward you are not able to see you.
Obey all rules of the road. This means crossing the road at crosswalks. Never run across the road without looking. If you are at a stoplight, wait for the walk signal. This will also include removing your mask when crossing the street, so your vision is not obstructed.
Use or wear reflective materials. For parents, this might mean wearing a reflective jacket. You can also have children use flashlights as they are walking. AAA Insurance recommends using a retro-reflective tape on costumes or treat buckets.
Halloween should be a fun holiday; however, failing to follow some of these suggestions listed above could lead to a pedestrian accident. If you have any questions about a pedestrian accident, contact The Advocates Law.
Infographic from safekids.org.