Soon the annual wave of miniature ghosts, goblins, vampires, and zombies will be roaming the streets of Palm Beach County. Halloween is one of the most fun times of the year for both kids and adults, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. Parents prepare their children for tampered candy and advances by strangers, but they sometimes parents and guardians forget the greatest possibility of danger on Halloween is accidents, and specifically, automobile accidents.
Halloween is one of the three most dangerous nights of the year for car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and various major insurance companies such as State Farm, the statistics show that you are more likely to be involved in an accident involving a vehicle on Halloween than almost any other night of the year, especially involving accidents with pedestrians or someone on a bicycle. What’s more, Halloween is considered the deadliest night of the year for children who are involved in car accidents, most of the time as pedestrians. The rate of fatal auto accidents is a little more than twice what it is during the average night, and, in total, children are four times more to be hit by a vehicle than they would be on an average day.
With proper safety precautions and oversight, however, it’s perfectly safe for kids to be out scouting for candy. For the adults headed out on Halloween without kids, it is equally important to remember that the #1 cause by far of Halloween accidents is drinking and driving. At all times, be vigilant and know your surroundings – whether you are a pedestrian or a driver.
With the holiday fast approaching, the lawyers and staff at Shiner Law Group would like to share our top safety tips for both kids and drivers who plan to be out trick-or-treating this Halloween.
For Parents and Kids Trick-or-Treating:
- Keep in mind that kids may not have traffic laws in mind as children often will not be cognizant of traffic laws or conditions as they are out walking on or near the street.
- Have a plan before you head out. Review access points where to cross the road such as designated cross-walks, wear bright reflective clothing, and have a general plan as to what places you will be going to. Map out a planned route ahead of time with kids so you always have a general idea of where they are. If they have smartphones, you can track them with an app like Family Locator.
- Always wait for traffic lights before crossing the road and make eye contact with the driver of a vehicle that is making a right turn toward them before walking into their path.
- Children should be supervised by a responsible adult. As a general rule of thumb, if there are children under 12 in the group, the group needs to be supervised by either an adult or a responsible older child.
- Ensure that costumes don’t obstruct peripheral vision.
- For the grown-ups, Halloween usually means getting together to have some adult beverages. With so many excited kids running through the streets, however, it’s even more important than ever on this night to have a reliable designated driver at the ready if you plan to drink. Have some taxi numbers stored away in your phone ahead of time in case you can’t find a driver or they end up “flaking-out” on you.
- Be extra slow and careful coming out of driveways and alleys. If you’re turning right out of a parking lot, don’t forget to look right for pedestrians before pulling into traffic.
- When in residential neighborhoods, stay at least 5 MPH below the posted speed limit and constantly be ready for the possibility of kids running in front of your vehicle. Also keep your lights on at all times, even if it is still light out.
- Make a mental commitment to not use your phone at all while driving on this day. If you absolutely need to use it for something, pull over first.