With Halloween around the corner, now is a good time to refresh your memory on a few critical nighttime pedestrian safety tips. More child pedestrians are walking around at night on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Whether you are sending your children out to trick-or-treat this year or you will be walking around yourself, knowledge of key safety tips could save a life.
Understand the Very Real Risks of Collisions
Pedestrian accidents, injuries and deaths are more prevalent than most roadway users realize. As the rate of drunk, reckless and distracted drivers on the road continues to increase, so does the number of pedestrian collisions. In Utah, 30 pedestrians die and 785 suffer serious injuries each year on average, according to state crash data. Every year for the last seven years, Utah’s rate of pedestrian accidents has increased. About 38% of pedestrians involved in traffic collisions in Utah are between the ages of 10 and 24. It is every pedestrian and driver’s responsibility to try to prevent traffic collisions in Utah, especially on busy nights such as Halloween.
Be Extra Careful in Common Crash Zones
Although a vehicle could crash into a pedestrian virtually anywhere on the road, certain places see more pedestrian accidents in Utah than others. Statistically, young children are most likely to get into accidents in driveways, residential areas and parking lots. Private properties can be especially dangerous for children due to the risk of backover accidents, or the driver reversing into a child. Drivers may be more comfortable or operating on autopilot when they are near their homes or in their neighborhoods, resulting in greater odds of a collision.
As a pedestrian, be extra careful in common places that crashes happen. Watch for vehicles when crossing in front of driveways, while walking in parking lots, and while crossing intersections and crosswalks. Always stop to check twice for oncoming vehicles before crossing a road, even if you technically have the right-of-way. Negligent drivers may fail to yield to you even when it is your turn to cross. Intersections and crosswalks are common locations for adult pedestrian collisions.
Teach Kids Pedestrian Safety
Halloween is such a dangerous night for pedestrians because of the number of young kids walking the streets. Children often do not recognize the dangers of vehicles and may not know or obey roadway rules. They are much more likely than adults to run behind reversing vehicles, cross a road without looking and dart into traffic. Teens are also at high risk for pedestrian accidents due to distracted walking. Teach your kids a few essential tips before sending them trick-or-treating.
- Walk, do not run
- Walk in groups
- Stick to lighted areas
- Do not text and walk
- Always look before crossing a street
- Only cross on the walk signal
- Never enter a stranger’s home or car
Teach your kids not to trust drivers. Too many drivers are distracted, texting and driving, drunk, drowsy or reckless to trust them to obey the rules. Instead, let children know it is their responsibility to look out for their own safety while walking to school or trick-or-treating. Always send young children walking with a responsible adult or at least an older child.
Maximize Your Visibility
Most festivities on and around Halloween occur at night. Trick-or-treating, haunted houses, corn mazes and carnivals all bring people out after dark to celebrate in Utah. Unfortunately, drivers cannot see pedestrians as easily after the sun goes down, leading to an increased risk of harmful collisions. The best way to stay safe at night – whether you are participating in Halloween events or just taking a stroll – is to maximize your visibility.
If you are celebrating Halloween, keep nighttime safety in mind by encouraging your kids to choose brightly colored costumes for trick-or-treating. Help drivers spot the tot by using a bright costume, reflective tape or lights. Send trick-or-treaters with flashlights or glowsticks as well, so drivers can see them and they can see walking surfaces. The more visible you make yourself or your children at night, the safer you will be from vehicle collisions.