Halloween is a fun evening for kids and adults alike. However, the night is not without its dangers. The Center for Disease Control warns that automobile-related accidents involving young pedestrians increase 400% on Halloween night. That's a terrible statistic and one that can be curbed if drivers take caution driving during trick-or-treat season and parents take steps to keep their kids safe. Remember, too, that not all areas host trick-or-treat nights on October 31st. Some areas start as early as October 25 and some wait until the Saturday after Halloween.
Safe Halloween Driving Tips
To keep you and your young neighbors safe this Halloween season, consider the following Halloween safe driving tips:
- Slow down. It sounds obvious, but driving slower is the single most effective way to help kids (and drivers) stay safe this Halloween season. Kids, no matter how many times they are warned, get excited and can run into the street unexpectedly. Driving slower gives you time to react to such movements. It's a good idea to keep your speed at least five miles below the posted limit during trick-or-treat night.
- Turn off the cell phone. Talking on your cell phone while driving is distracting any time of the year; however, it's especially dangerous when small ghouls and goblins are darting through the neighborhood. Keep everyone safe this year by turning off your phone (and tablet or other device) until you can pull over or until you get to where you're going.
- Avoid other distractions. Cell phones aren't the only things that can distract drivers. Smoking, changing the radio station, inserting a CD or trying to find something in the glove box can all take your eyes off of the road for a crucial few seconds. Halloween isn't the night to be doing any of those things. Suffer without music or a cigarette until you get to your destination.
- Avoid passing stopped vehicles. Cars and other vehicles that are stopped in the roadway on Halloween night could be dropping off trick-or-treaters. Avoid passing such vehicles as kids might be running out in front of the car to begin their trick-or-treat adventures.
- Communicate with other drivers. Using your turn signals and other indicators is important (not to mention the law) any time of the year, but it's especially important when other drivers are scanning the sides of the road for young trick-or-treaters: they may not have their full attention on your vehicle.
Halloween Road Safety Tips for Parents
Parents can also do their part to help keep their kids safe when they venture out into the neighborhood this Halloween season. If you have children going out for Halloween, be sure to read these safety suggestions:
- Dress your kids so they can be seen. Although black cats and bats make for cool costumes, such outfits blend into the night time landscape. Make sure that your children are dressed in lighter colors and that they carry a glow stick or small flashlight so they can be spotted easily (If they take a flashlight, make sure to tell them to keep the beam low to the ground so they don't temporarily blind any drivers by shining the light in the driver's eyes).
- Preserve visibility. It's not just important that kids be seen, they also need to be able to see in order to be safe. Avoid dressing your kids in costumes and masks that limit their peripheral vision. Save the scary masks for the indoor Halloween activities.
- Pull off of the road to drop off kids. Yes, the other drivers should be paying attention but we all know that isn't always the case. Plus, in all of the excitement, kids can dart across the street without notice when they get out of the car. Better to pull in a driveway or a nearby parking lot to drop off your trick-or-treaters. Or even better, stay close to home and walk from your house.
- Remind kids of stranger danger. Unfortunately, Halloween presents an enticing opportunity for those adults who mean harm to our children. It's also easy for kids to let their guard down during the fun and mayhem of trick or treat night. Make sure that you remind your kids to never under any circumstances get into a vehicle with someone they don't know, no matter what the person tells them. Make sure they can easily identify your car when you pick them up by putting a battery-lighted jack-o-lantern on the dashboard.
Keeping trick-or-treaters safe on Halloween takes the efforts of drivers, parents, and even kids themselves. Make sure to slow down and pay attention when you drive on Halloween night. The kids are depending on it.
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