Halloween is an especially frightful night for parents. Children are 2.2 times more likely to be struck by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day, reports Safe Kids USA. To make sure the only thing that scares you and your kids is the holiday itself, go over these trick or treating safety tips before you head out for the big night.
Why are accidents more frequent on Halloween?
The reason for this increase in accidents on Halloween is fairly obvious. Children are excited to be walking around the neighborhood collecting candy with their friends and family.
They may be in a rush to get to the next house and forget to look both ways before crossing the street.
Even Halloween costumes can contribute to the risk as some may be difficult for drivers to see until it is too late.
Pedestrian Trick or Treating Safety Tips
Plan your child’s costume with care
Many Halloween costumes, especially the scary ones, are made from dark fabric. These kinds of outfits may look cool, but they also make it difficult for drivers to see your children.
Incorporate reflective tape into your child’s costume. It is also a great idea stick a lot of reflective tape on your child’s treat bag or bucket.
When walking around your neighborhood after dark, make sure you pack flashlights or glow sticks for your children to use.
These items will allow your child to see where they are going, preventing nasty trip and fall accidents. They also make it easier for drivers to see you and your children.
Pick a safe time to trick or treat
The hour between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm is the deadliest hour on Halloween night, according to a study by State Farm and Sperling’s BestPlaces. Nearly 25 percent of child pedestrian fatalities happen during this hour.
Some neighborhoods have a specific time window during which residents can trick or treat. If possible, try to arrange your night to avoid this deadly hour.
Always cross the street at intersections and crosswalks
The State Farm study also reported that 70 percent of child pedestrians killed on Halloween are not killed at intersections. This means that deadly collisions are happening all along the street, possibly even on sidewalks.
Make sure your child crosses the street at intersections and crosswalks only. It is also important that your child makes eye contact with drivers and looks both ways before crossing the street. Never let your child look at his or her cell phone while crossing the street.
Pack a fully-charged cell phone
Make sure you have enough power to make it through the night’s festivities. If you plan on taking a lot of pictures, using your phone’s navigation system, or using your phone as a flashlight (all of which could drain your phone’s battery), pack a backup battery pack. In case of emergency, you will be glad you did.
Do not be distracted by your cell phone
It is a great idea to bring your phone along in case of emergency. If there is an accident, you can call the police or an ambulance and if you and your child get separated, you can call each other.
However, the dangers of distracted walking can easily outweigh the benefits. Resist the urge to look at your screen while walking and also prevent your child from doing the same.
The bright screen of a cell phone can cause you to have difficulty seeing in the dark and if you are looking at your phone, you are not looking at your surroundings.
Know when it is acceptable to let your child trick or treat alone
All children mature at different speeds, so only you can determine when your child is old enough to trick or treat without your supervision.
Before sending your child out with his or her friends, make sure the maturity level of the group supports such a decision. As a general guideline, the American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends that all children under the age of 12 be supervised by a parent or other adult on Halloween night.
Tips for Atlanta Drivers on Halloween Night
It is not only children and parents that must take precautions on Halloween night; drivers must also share the burden of safety. Before you get behind the wheel this Halloween, make sure you remember and follow these safety tips.
Find out when trick or treating starts in your neighborhood and avoid driving during this time
If at all possible, avoid driving during peak trick or treating hours. Put off going to the grocery store or bank until tomorrow.
Driving will be a headache and you could end up getting into an accident with a young child.
Try to stay aware of trick or treat times in other neighborhoods. Not every neighborhood celebrates this night at the same time or even on the same day. If you can, stay home or consider walking to areas close by.
If you must drive, drive slowly
Sometimes it is impossible to avoid driving during trick or treating altogether. Whether you are on your way home from work or running a necessary errand, be on the lookout for children in the street and drive well under the speed limit.
Always come to a complete stop at lights and stop signs and make sure the road is clear of pedestrians before starting to drive again.
Watch out for pedestrians, even if you have right of way
Sometimes you just have to let that family jaywalk across the street. Even though you have right of way, you do not want to be involved in an accident on Halloween.
Large groups of teenagers may also ignore the rules of the road. We know this kind of thing is frustrating, but try to remain calm and patient. It could save someone’s life.
For more safety tips like these be sure to check out our blog and, of course, if you need legal help after an accident be sure to contact the accident attorneys at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. for a free consultation: 404-474-0804.