Halloween festivities bring excitement — and sometimes, dangerous situations. As children walk around in their costumes trick-or-treating, they often forget about safety. AAA East Central advises adults and motorists to take some extra precautions this year.
“Just like during any other holiday, we want safety to be on the minds of anybody heading out to celebrate," said Lori Cook, AAA East Central Safety Advisor. "Motorists should watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. In dark costumes, they'll be harder to see at night."
Safe Kids Worldwide reports that on average, children are more than twice as likely to be struck by a vehicle and fatally injured on Halloween than on any other night of the year.
To keep pedestrians safe this Halloween, AAA 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, including 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, and never 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 where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present, if possible.
• Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself 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 particularly 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 has also become an increasingly popular holiday for adults to dress and host or attend parties. The combination of drinking and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween night has been a deadly combination in recent years. In recent years, nearly half of the Halloween traffic fatalities in the U.S. involved a crash with a drunk driver, and more than a quarter of them were pedestrians, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Keep the following in mind while out celebrating Halloween:
- 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 81 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.