Halloween Road Safety
Did you know that children are twice as likely to be killed in a traffic accident on Halloween as compared to any other night of the year? Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for people aged 1 through 18 years old. But you can help prevent injuries and fatalities on Halloween night by following these simple safety precautions related to traffic awareness.
Some Halloween hazards are increased due to the weather and sheer number of people out and about. For example, unpredictable weather lends itself to slip and fall injuries. Increased use of candles and open flames near flammable costumes and decorations leads to a higher rate of house fires and burn injuries on Halloween as compared to any other night of the year.
But other injuries and even fatalities can be avoided just by increasing your traffic awareness when driving. Every year there are 3,800 Halloween-related injuries. 52 percent of motor vehicle deaths on Halloween involve alcohol. However, that means that 48% of motor vehicle deaths on Halloween don’t-- just because you don’t drink and drive on Halloween does not mean you don’t need to pay more attention when driving.
Drivers between the ages of 18 and 25 accounted for one-third of all fatal Halloween car accidents. In 2017 alone, 7,450 pedestrians died in accidents on Halloween.
These statistics can put a damper on any Halloween celebration. But, they don’t mean that you can’t go out on Halloween night-- just be sure to follow recommended safety precautions.
While this year’s Halloween may look a little different than previous years, the streets are still sure to be more crowded than usual with trick or treaters, parents, and party-goers. Obeying the speed limit is always a good idea, but on Halloween it pays to drive even slower. After all, is being late to a party really worth someone’s life? Slow down to the speed limit or below, particularly in neighborhoods.
Driving slower doesn’t just save the lives of pedestrians, it could save your life too. Remember, you’re not the only driver on the road. Even if you trust your own reaction time, other drivers may be tired, distracted, or even under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Slowing down your speed and increasing your awareness of traffic around you significantly decreases your risk of injury if an accident were to occur. Keep in mind that distracted and drunk driving increase on Halloween night.
Don’t Drive Drunk
This rule should be obvious. Drunk driving is illegal. Yet, many people have a cavalier attitude towards drinking while driving. This attitude costs people their lives. One person dies in a drunk driving accident every 50 minutes. During Halloween, drunk driving becomes even more prevalent as parties increase and bars and restaurants host Halloween festivities.
38 percent of fatal crashes that occurred on Halloween night involved a driver or motorcyclist with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Another 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night included a drunk driver.
On Halloween, consider these three things before getting behind the wheel:
Would you let your friend drive after the number of drinks you’ve had?
If you were to be pulled over, would you go to jail?
Is driving right now worth someone’s life?
Say No to Distracted Driving
When most people think of distracted driving, texting is one of the first things to come to mind. But distracted driving can also be talking on the phone, changing the radio station, using your GPS, or even talking with a friend. When driving on Halloween night, traffic awareness should be your first concern. Particularly when driving through residential areas, where pedestrians are likely to be walking from house to house.
Make sure your headlights are on, even if the sun is just starting to go down. Have a passenger navigate for you so you’re not distracted by the GPS. Choose your music before you start driving. Chat with your friends, but remember that your first priority is getting yourself and your passengers home safely at the end of the night.
Avoid Traveling at Dusk
Dusk is the most popular time for trick or treating. It’s before bedtime for young kids and still light out so parents feel more comfortable walking up to strangers' homes and avoiding dangerous roadways.
However, dusk can be a tricky time of day for drivers. The half-light makes headlights largely ineffective, but there still isn’t enough sunlight to have truly good visibility. Because of this, it’s a good idea to avoid driving at dusk on Halloween night. At this time of day, it’s more difficult to see kids walking in roadways or crossing the street. Dark colored costumes allow pedestrians to blend in.
While flashlights and reflective tape are an excellent way for trick or treaters to increase their visibility, they’re not commonly used. 63 percent of children don’t carry a flashlight, and 82 percent of parents won’t put reflective tape on a child’s costume. Travel to your Halloween activities either before or after dusk.
Safety Comes First
While Halloween is a fun holiday, it’s important to prioritize safety above all else. After all, the saying “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt” rings true. It’s hard to have a fun Halloween from a jail cell after driving drunk and hitting a pedestrian. By following these safety precautions you can still have a great Halloween night while keeping yourself and others safe on the roadways.
Happy Halloween from Directional Traffic!