Even with all of the vampires, ghosts, and witches traipsing around on All Hallow’s Eve, there are far more frightening things to consider on this day. Halloween is different from other holidays in that there are many more pedestrians – especially distracted kids – on the street. Coupled with the sun setting earlier and slick leaf-covered roads, drivers need to take special precautions like driving slower and continually scanning for trick or treaters.
Halloween has grown to be one of the most popular holidays of the year, with Americans spending well over $10 billion annually on everything from candy, costumes, decorations and other ghoulish gadgets. Parties for kids and adults are held throughout the month, so safe driving rules don’t just apply to the very last day.
- On Halloween night, nearly one out of four pedestrian fatalities involves a drunk driver.
- Over Halloween weekend, nearly half of all fatal crashes across the country involve a motorcyclist or driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.
- Nearly 40% of fatal crashes that happen on Halloween night involve a motorcyclist or driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.
- Nearly 1 out of 5 people who die on Halloween night are children.
- Pedestrians are 50% more likely to be killed on Halloween than on any other regular day.
In the past, Halloween was strictly a children’s holiday. Costume parades at school and then heading out early to trick or treat around the neighborhood until just before dark were the norm. The older children stay out later but most folks don’t expect trick or treaters to arrive past 9 p.m. or so.
However, with the popularity of Halloween growing every year, more parties are being held which also means the potential (and reality) of more drivers on the road, and more people driving who are buzzed or fully intoxicated. Protect yourself by getting home at an early hour and, if you must drive, be fully insured in case an accident happens. Make sure you are prepared by obtaining cheap car insurance that keeps you covered without breaking the bank.
- Over the span of the month of October, the sun sets almost an entire hour earlier by Halloween than it did on the last day of September. Drivers need to adjust to the shift to driving more often in the dark.
- All of those changing leaves are vibrant and beautiful, but by the end of October they are usually being ushered to the ground by the onset of wintry winds. Rain and leaves can create a situation where roads are unexpectedly slippery.
- Even if it doesn’t rain, piles of leaves are tempting for children and pets.
- Driving through neighborhoods during the month of October can be ‘tricky’ because children may still be outside playing. Holiday parties may be taking place at any time.
- October moving into November means unpredictable weather; you could run into rain, fog, even ice, sleet and snow.
Keeping the Night Safe
There are so many other aspects of Halloween that parents need to be wary of – allergens in the candy their kids have collected (not to mention those creepy urban legends), kids trick or treating in groups rather than alone, and not going up to strange houses. You can do your part by being aware of all of the hazards and keeping it a safe, fun night for all.
- If you’re not comfortable with night driving, let someone else do it. Halloween night involves too much risk with regard to children, so it’s safer for everyone if you let your spouse or friend do the driving.
- Drive slower than usual through neighborhoods. If it’s been raining, wet leaves create a slippery situation that can cause an accident. Don’t ever drive through a pile of leaves on the curb (drive around it if it is on the street) because so often, children like to play in them making them impossible to see.
- Be vigilant and alert, especially on Halloween night. Be on the lookout for kids crossing the street and darting out into it. Remember, kids are excited on Halloween night and are too young to consider the dangers that present themselves on this night. Some costumes are dark and may be hard to see.
- Keep a watchful eye when you’re pulling into and backing out of driveways. With more carefree, costumed kids running across lawns and driveways, chances are good they’ll be crossing yours at just the wrong moment. Don’t just rely on your rear camera, before getting into your car access how close trick or treaters are to your house so you can leave safely.
- Never drive distracted. While you never want to text and drive, you’re exponentially increasing the chances of an accident if you’re also eating, on the phone or even adjusting the radio controls on Halloween night.
- Turn on your headlights, this isn’t just so you can see pedestrians but also so they can see you. Peak trick or treating hours are between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. – be safe and turn them on even if it’s not fully dark.
Keep Halloween fun by following safe driving rules and common sense. Leave the nightmares to the movies and kids’ imaginations!