Auto accident attorney and father of two trick-or-treating and candy loving children shares Halloween safety tips for drivers and parents
Follow my Halloween Safety Tips to make sure your little ghosts and goblins have a wickedly fun and safe trick-or-treating adventure tonight.
Halloween is a terrific holiday. It’s always been one of my family’s favorites.
But amidst the sugar-fueled fun, the goofy and scary costumes, and all the candy there should also be very real safety concerns that parents and drivers need to be attuned to.
Here’s the most truly frightful fact that all parents – and drivers – need to know:
“Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.”
That’s a grim statistic. It is not meant to scare you. It is meant to be a sober reminder for all. Knowing that children are twice as likely to be killed by a car on Halloween should hopefully be the motivation that we need to put down our cell phones, to keep our eyes on the road, and to drive with even more caution than we might normally.
Keeping our children safe on Halloween starts with being better drivers.
Sadly, as an auto accident attorney, I’ve received the calls from distraught parents who have had children hit by cars on Halloween night. I have personally seen how families are ripped apart by a car accident.
There is nothing more tragic for a parent than losing a child – and nothing that is more regrettable than when this is 100% preventable, especially when a driver was driving distracted because of texting or was driving drunk and impaired.
Parents can help, too, by following the advice I offer below.
Halloween safety tips for drivers
Drivers can make a huge difference in terms of ensuring the safety of our young trick-or-treaters if they follow these safety tips:
- No distractions. Put down the phones.
- No drunk or drugged driving.
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods because children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Even though Halloween is largely a kids’ holiday, I know that parents and adults have also been known to join in the celebration. If that’s you and you’re celebrating with adult beverages on the street while your kids are running up to ring doorbells, please don’t get behind the wheel.
Consider these statistics from NHTSA:
- “From 2012 to 2016, 44% of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31 – 5:59 a.m. November 1) were in crashes involving a drunk driver …”
- “Children out trick-or-treating, and those accompanying them, are also at risk, as 14% of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night (2012-2016) involved drunk drivers.”
Halloween safety tips for parents and trick-or-treaters
While drivers bear the largest burden for ensuring kids’ safety on Halloween, there are actions that parents and trick-or-treaters can take to protect themselves. They include:
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
- To increase visibility at night, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. You can do the same with candy bags. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle and sporting goods stores.
- Make sure you tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children’s eyes and obstructing their vision. Same goes for masks. Make sure the masks provide adequate ventilation and have eye holes large enough to allow full vision.