On October 31 each year, millions of children throughout the United States celebrate Halloween by walking door to door collecting candy from neighbors. But, here's a scary statistic: Children are more than twice as likely to be killed while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to the organization Safe Kids USA.
Help keep trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween by following these driving safety tips:
Perform a pre-trip inspection to ensure that your vehicle’s headlights, taillights, signal and auxiliary lights are clean, properly adjusted and in working order. Thoroughly clean all windows and mirrors, and adjust the mirrors for optimal visibility.
Drive below the posted speed limit in areas where children are likely to be or where sight distances are limited. Doing so will give you extra time to react to children who may dart into the street. Children often behave unpredictably, and most young pedestrian deaths occur at non-intersection locations.
Scan the road for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs, and be especially cautious at corners or crosswalks. Look for children left and right, into yards and on front porches. In dark-colored costumes, they’ll be harder to see at night, and costumes often limit a child’s ability to see. And, remember, if you spot one child, there are likely more ready to cross.
Keep a lookout for children on bicycles and in strollers. The lack of lights on these wheeled vehicles makes them more difficult to recognize, and their small profile makes it hard to judge their distance and speed. Bicyclists also are more likely to ignore the rules of the road.
Be patient. Children and adults with small children or strollers may need more time to cross the street.
Be especially careful between 4 and 8 p.m., when most severe vehicle/young pedestrian collisions happen.
Do not pass other vehicles stopped in the roadway as the driver may be dropping off or picking up children. Wait several seconds before attempting to pass, and only if you see there are no pedestrians near the vehicle. Watch for children when passing parked cars as they often cross the street behind or between them.
Enter and exit driveways and alleys with extreme caution. Children have a harder time judging how a driver will react, and are more likely to think they have the okay to proceed.
Turn on your headlights – even in the daylight. Having your headlights on will make it easier for children to see you, and will also help you see children in dark-colored costumes.
Obey all traffic signs and signals, and communicate with other drivers. Use your turn signals when changing lanes or turning.
Avoid distractions while driving. Keep your radio volume low enough, particularly in residential areas, to be able to hear the sounds of nearby trick-or-treaters. Don’t reach for anything until you’re safely stopped, and save eating for your destination.
Keep an eye out for impaired drivers. The social nature of Halloween means there are more parties and an increase in alcohol consumption.
Lastly, keep in mind that some communities host Halloween activities on other nights during the week. By being cautious and mindful of safe driving throughout Halloween week, you can make sure the holiday is a treat for all.
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