9 Rules For A Safer Halloween On The Road
Tiny trick-or-treaters are getting ready to flood the sidewalks and streets in search of sweets. If you’re out and about on Halloween night, you’ll need to be on high alert for these costumed children. And if you’re taking your kids out, there are also some guidelines to follow. In order to keep yourself and everyone else safe, follow our list of rules for Halloween driving and trick-or-treating.
#1: Don’t use your cell phone
When you read a text while driving, you take your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. If you’re driving 55 miles per hour, this is like being blind for 100 yards worth of road. Since looking away from the road for even two seconds makes your risk of accident 24 times higher, it’s clear to see how using your phone on Halloween night could be devastating.
#2: Resist other distracted driving habits
Eating, drinking, smoking, and fiddling with the radio are also enough of a distraction to impede your driving. While you should focus on the road every time you’re behind the wheel, make sure you pay special attention to driving on Halloween and forget about everything else.
#3: Slow down
A 20-year study between 1990 and 2010 reported that 115 children died on Halloween after being struck by a vehicle. That’s an average of 5.5 child pedestrian deaths every Halloween. Of those deaths, 32% were kids 12-15-years old and the second highest age bracket was 5-8-year olds.
It takes 20 feet to stop a car going 20 miles per hour. If you’re driving 30 miles per hour, it takes 45 feet. Neither of these include response time either, which adds up to 66 additional feet to come to a complete stop. If you’re distracted, this gets even worse. Slowing down can increase your ability to come to a complete stop faster and avoid any tragic collisions with those out on Halloween night.
#4: Be on high alert between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Most cases of accidents involving pedestrians happen between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The last U.S. census in 2013 predicted that about 41 million children would trick-or-treat on Halloween. On Halloween when pint-sized pedestrian levels are at an all-time high, you need to be especially careful.
#5: Limit teen driving
The demographic with the highest accident rate in America is teens 16-19. That same age bracket is also almost three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than those 20 and older. On Halloween when there are so many more pedestrians on the road, keep your teens in the passenger seat to decrease the odds of having something bad happen on the road.
#6: Don’t overcrowd your car
Driving with passengers affects drivers differently depending on age. For teens, driving with others significantly impairs their driving and increases their accident risk. For 16-year olds, driving with passengers doubles their risk of getting into an accident. Those 20-24 see about a 50% increase, those 25-29 report about a 25% increase, and those 30-59 don’t see any change from driving alone or with passengers in relation to the risk of getting into an accident. On Halloween, do us a favor and play it safe by driving solo or with less passengers if you have to get in your car at all.
#7: Don’t drive sleepy or inebriated
Driving drunk or sleepy impacts your reaction time quite similarly. The cognitive ability of someone who hasn’t slept in 24 hours is the same as someone who has an illegal blood alcohol content of 0.10%. Driving sleepy, high, or drunk can wreak havoc on your ability to drive and react to things in front of you. Do not partake in any of the above ever—especially on Halloween night—when little kids are out and about crossing roads.
#8: Light up the dark with reflectors and flashlights
A witch costume is cute and all, but when the night black matches the dark colors of the costume, your child will disappear from view. Since 60% of all pedestrian deaths happen when it’s dark out, it’s really important to keep your kids safe with reflectors or lights. You can do this easily by putting them in a reflective vest, giving them a glow-in-the-dark candy bag or basket, or providing them with a flashlight to carry. Remember, the chances of being struck and killed as a pedestrian after dark increases by 1100%, so put safety first and fun second.
#9: Always look both ways and use crosswalks
During a study, research found that 70% of all child pedestrian fatalities happened at sites other than crosswalks and intersections. Not only does this show the inattention of drivers on Halloween, but the bad decisions of children and their parents out trick-or-treating. Before you head out or let you children go out on their own, talk to them about the importance of looking both ways before crossing and never crossing anywhere except a designated intersection. This can keep them much safer and teach them to keep their eyes open for distracted drivers so they can stick to treats on Halloween night.
#10 Play it even safer
You can never be too careful on Halloween. Follow even more great safety tips to make sure everyone is safe and has fun this Halloween.
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