AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning drivers, parents, trick-or-treaters and partygoers of the risks and dangers of Halloween — and offering some tips to have a safe and happy holiday.
“With an increased risk of pedestrian crashes on Halloween night, AAA Mid-Atlantic urges parents to take the time to make trick-or-treaters and their costumes safer and more visible to motorists,” said Ken Grant, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “In addition, motorists must eliminate distractions, slow down and watch for children, as well as have a completely sober designated driver if drinking is part of a Halloween celebration.”
Halloween is a statistically dangerous night for drunk driving. The combination of drinking and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween is a deadly combination. AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that:
— 1/4 of all pedestrian deaths ranging in age from 5-14 occurred in the four days leading up to Halloween, Oct. 28-31, in 2017;
— On Halloween night 2017, 89 people were fatally injured in a traffic crash, with 13 percent involving alcohol;
— In 2017, more than half of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween occurred with the pedestrian outside of a marked crosswalk;
— From 2013-17, 158 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night;
— From 2013-17, 22% of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver.
— During that period, 42% of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night were in crashes involving a drunk driver.
AAA offers these Halloween safety tips for motorists, for parents, for trick-or-treaters and for partygoers.
Tips for motorists:
— Do not use a phone while behind the wheel; focus on the road and trick-or-treaters.
— Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give extra time to react to children who may dart into the street.
— Look for children crossing the street. They may not be paying attention to traffic and may cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
— Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys, taking extra care when backing up or turning.
— Turn headlights on for increased visibility, even in the daylight.
— Broaden look for children left and right into yards and on front porches.
Tips for parents:
— Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and light in color to improve visibility.
— Be bright at night: have trick-or-treaters use glow sticks or wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and on treat buckets.
— Ensure disguises don’t obstruct vision, and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.
— Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.
— Ask an adult or older child to supervise children under age 12.
— Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
— Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never enter a stranger’s home or garage.
— Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
Tips for trick-or-treaters:
— Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible.
— If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
— Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
— Watch for cars turning or backing up.
— Cross streets only at the corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
— Trick-or-treat in a group if not accompanied by an adult or guardian.
— Tell parents trick-or-treating routes.
— Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries. Never shine flashlights into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
Tips for partygoers:
— Arrange a safe ride home and/or designate a driver before partaking in any festivities.
— Always designate a sober driver.
— If drunk, take a taxi or rideshare service, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation.
— Before leaving for a party, load rideshare apps or put numbers of local cab companies or designated driver into your phone.
— Walking impaired can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to accompany.
— If a drunk driver is spotted on the road, contact local law enforcement.
— If a friend or loved one is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going.
For more, visit aaa.com.