While we may see fewer witches, ghosts, and goblins hitting neighborhoods this Halloween because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, it is important that parents remain vigilant as they take their children out for trick-or-treating and motorists take care as they drive on Halloween Day.
Dangers of Halloween
Halloween has been one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians, especially for young children. A comprehensive study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which analyzed 42 years of data, shows that the risk of a pedestrian death was 43% higher on Halloween than on other days.
There are a number of hazards that converge on Halloween when it comes to danger to pedestrians. First, it starts to get darker earlier toward the end of October. Then, there is a large increase in pedestrian traffic, especially young children. And then finally, there are all types of distractions such as costumes and dangers within costumes such as masks, which could hamper a pedestrian’s ability to see clearly. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that half of the traffic deaths overall occur either in the dark or at dawn or dusk when visibility is compromised.
Tips for Halloween Road Safety
There are a number of steps trick-or-treaters and drivers can take to make sure everyone is safe. Here are some tips from experts that can help:
- Parents or responsible adults should always accompany younger children when they head out to trick or treat.
- Children should be taught not to run and to always stay on sidewalks instead of walking between cars where they may not be seen by passing drivers. Children should definitely not be allowed to dart across streets, even if they are usually quiet, residential streets.
- Pedestrians should not assume they have the right of way because motorists may not see them.
- Costumes should be lighter in color. It’s also a good idea to add reflective material to the front and back of costumes so they are visible. Avoid costumes that are difficult for a child to see such as masks.
- Drivers should drive slowly and carefully while looking out for trick-or-treaters.
- Never drink and drive.
- Do not be distracted by smartphones or anything while driving.