No matter how you plan to celebrate Halloween, it is a good idea to be on high alert for pedestrians. Whether you are driving a car, truck, or sport utility vehicle, all drivers should be extra cautious on Halloween. Here are some tips for Halloween safety for drivers and trick-or-treaters.
Why Halloween safety for drivers and trick-or-treaters is so important
Consumer Reports has some good information about Halloween safety. It is an excellent time to remember that there will probably be more children and families on the roads in your neighborhood than usual. While many trick-or-treaters wear some type of light or neon clothing to help at night, it is still a good idea to keep an eye out for costumed children.
Historically, Halloween is one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians, especially children. According to a comprehensive study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the “risk of a pedestrian fatality was 43 percent higher on Halloween.”
“The holiday may heighten pedestrian traffic risk, because celebrations occur at dusk, masks restrict peripheral vision, costumes limit visibility, street-crossing safety is neglected, and some partygoers are impaired by alcohol.”Journal of the American Medical Association
How can you protect yourself and others while out celebrating Halloween? Be alert and extra careful while out and about.
Halloween safety tips for drivers and passengers
Consumer Reports suggests driving slowly around the neighborhood, especially on residential streets. Just because you don’t see trick-or-treaters doesn’t mean people are not out. Don’t drive and drive, either. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that 41% of people killed in car accidents on Halloween between 2014 and 2018 involved a drunk driver. About 33% of all crash fatalities in the U.S. involve a drunk driver.
If you see children, be prepared for someone to dart into the street. Pedestrians might appear out of nowhere and one child crossing the road usually indicates more children are nearby.
Make sure everyone in your vehicle is buckled correctly and in a car seat, if necessary. Be extra alert at big intersections or near busy parts of town, as others might not be paying close attention.
The Halloween holiday is a deadly night on the road
According to the JAMA study, there are a few reasons why Halloween safety for drivers and trick-or-treaters is such a big deal. Some of the mitigating factors include the broad public awareness and celebration of the holiday, parental supervision, and the fact that there is safety in numbers. “Halloween night is like a ‘perfect storm’ of risk because it involves darkness, a huge increase in pedestrian traffic—especially children—and all sorts of distractions,” Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center, said.
Data from the NHTSA over 40 years studied how many traffic fatalities occurred on Halloween night over the control weekends, one before and after the holiday. The time studied was 5:00 PM to 11:59 PM on October 31, with the control nights on October 24 and November 7. It found that the relative risk of a pedestrian fatality was 43% higher on Halloween night than on the other nights. Halloween safety for drivers and trick-or-treaters is imperative, no matter how you plan to celebrate.