Halloween is usually a fun holiday for families with young children, who get to dress up in costumes and go out trick-or-treating. However, Halloween also, unfortunately, has some of the highest rates of motor vehicle-related crashes, especially pedestrian accidents. If you or your children plan to be out this Halloween, you need to understand why the risk of accidents is greater during the holiday and what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe.
One primary reason for the increase in motor vehicle accidents on Halloween is due to drunk driving. While children spend Halloween out trick-or-treating, many teens and adults choose to celebrate the holiday by going out to parties. Unfortunately, some Halloween party-goers make the fatal mistake of consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that almost half of all auto accident fatalities on Halloween involved alcohol.
If you choose to drink at a Halloween party, you should avoid getting behind the wheel. Even “buzzed” driving makes you a risk of causing an accident. The risk of drunk driving accidents on Halloween can be reduced by:
- Having a designated driver
- Taking public transportation, or calling a taxi, rideshare, or livery vehicle
- Planning to spend the night at wherever you are attending a party
Increased Pedestrian Traffic
With so many children running around neighborhoods trick-or-treating, the increase in pedestrian traffic also leads to a rise in the risk of pedestrian accidents. Smaller children may be harder to see in the evening and at night, especially when they are wearing dark-colored costumes. Children in their excitement may fail to practice proper pedestrian safety and may dart out into the street in front of oncoming traffic.
Drivers can help reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents by driving slower than normal, especially when traveling through residential neighborhoods. If a driver needs to text to check directions, they should pull over and stop where safe to do so.
Parents can also help keep their children safe from accidents by:
- Choosing brightly-colored costumes, or adding reflective tape to their costume and candy bag/bucket
- Having children carry a flashlight or lantern, which can help make them more visible to drivers
- Having a chaperone accompany young children out trick-or-treating
- Reminding children never to cross a street without looking both ways, to cross at marked crosswalks or intersections whenever possible, and to always stay on the sidewalk whenever one is available
Inadequate Parental Supervision
While having chaperones for children out trick-or-treating is always a good idea, when supervising young children parents should ensure that there are always enough adults or older, responsible siblings to make sure that no child can walk or run off on their own without someone noticing.
In addition to supervising young children out trick-or-treating, parents should also exercise appropriate supervision for teen Halloween parties, including making sure that no one consumes alcohol or uses drugs and then gets behind the wheel of their vehicle to drive home after the party.
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