This Halloween, do not be the reason a trick-or-treater suffers a real scare rather than a pretend one. Respect your position as a driver and learn a few important safety tips to exercise on Halloween and the surrounding nights. In 2016, almost 6,000 pedestrians lost their lives in pedestrian accidents around the country. You have the power to prevent pedestrian collisions in your neighborhood. Use safe driving tips to help protect pedestrians this Halloween.
Reducing your speed can be the easiest and most effective way to prevent a pedestrian collision on Halloween. Speeding can make it impossible to hit the brakes or safely maneuver away from an unexpected road hazard, such as a child darting out from between parked cars. You may not see a crossing pedestrian until it is too late to brake if you are traveling too fast. Reduce your speed to at least 5 to 10 miles per hour below posted speeds on Halloween night, especially in school zones and residential areas.
Watch for Distracted or Young Pedestrians
The risk of pedestrian accidents skyrockets on Halloween. Thousands of trick-or-treaters will take to the streets in your city – mostly small children who may not obey pedestrian rules. Keep a careful eye out for pedestrians on Halloween. Remember, some may be wearing dark or black costumes that are difficult to see. Expect pedestrians to jaywalk, step off of curbs when they do not have the right-of-way and run in front of your car. Practice defensive driving; always be ready to react to pedestrians.
Avoid Residential Areas
Try to avoid driving through residential areas and small neighborhoods on Halloween completely. These are hotspots for trick-or-treaters and may have heavy foot traffic. Park around the corner and walk to your vehicle rather than driving through a residential area. Respect roadblocks and traffic cones if a community has set them up to prevent motor vehicle traffic. If you are a new driver, do not drive at all on Halloween night. The odds of a collision increase for new and inexperienced drivers.
Drive Sober or Not at All
Drunk driving spikes on holiday nights and weekends. People leaving Halloween parties may be under the influence of alcohol, making them an extreme risk to everyone else on the road. Every day, an average of 29 people in the U.S. die because of drunk drivers. Do not contribute to drunk driving accidents. Do not get behind the wheel unless you are 100% sober. If you have had anything to drink or taken any drugs – even prescription medications – arrange a ride with a sober friend, a taxi, Uber, Lyft or the bus. If you spot a driver on the road who appears intoxicated, keep your distance and report him or her to the police.
Be Extra Careful Backing Up
Try to park in a spot where you will not have to back up to leave. If you do need to reverse, pay special attention to what is going on behind you. Children may be trick-or-treating on the road or sidewalks and may walk directly behind your vehicle without noticing you are trying to reverse. Reverse slowly and use a rear-facing camera, if you have one. Hover your foot over the brake and prepare to stop without notice.
Never Text and Drive
Distracted driving is another common reason for vehicle-pedestrian collisions. Of all nights to pay attention to the road, Halloween is one of the most important. With an influx of pedestrians walking the streets, you must give your full, undivided attention to driving. Even a few seconds of distraction could make you run into a trick-or-treater.
If you do not believe you can stay off your phone while driving, put it in the glove box or your trunk for the trip. Do not let other distractions get the best of you, such as food, drinks, passengers, the radio, a GPS or distractions outside your vehicle. Pedestrians are relying on you to drive safely and pay attention on Halloween night. Do not let them down.