Halloween Remains One Of The Deadliest Days For Pedestrians
[Editor’s Note: In support of Halloween safety, AAA stores in Washington and northern Idaho are offering free trick-or-treat bags to members and non-members which include a “Be Smart, Be Safe, Be Seen” message about the importance of pedestrian safety. Available now through Oct. 31.]
Halloween is a celebration of the scary and frightful, but not when it comes to the safety of everyone on our roadways. AAA Washington is urging motorists to slow down, driver sober and be extra alert for trick-or-treaters, and pedestrians are encouraged to be smart, be safe and be seen when walking on the roads.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and in the last five years (2011-2015), 45 percent of all motor vehicle deaths during Halloween involved an impaired driver.
It’s important for drivers to show extra caution and to slow down when pedestrians are on the roadway. Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if they are hit by a car traveling at 35 mph compared to 25 mph. What seems like a small difference – slowing down just 10 mph – can be the difference between life and death.
“Because excited kids often forget about safety during Halloween festivities,” said Jennifer Cook, AAA Washington spokesperson. “AAA encourages parents to make sure their trick-or-treaters are as safe as possible with highly visible costumes, parental supervision and flashlights.”
Safety Tips for Motorists:
- Watch for children darting out into the street. Trick-or-treaters may not pay attention to cars and cross mid-block or between parked cars.
- Slow down and drive with caution, especially in low-lit neighborhoods between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight when pedestrians are most vulnerable.
- Avoid driving through neighborhoods. If possible, avoid cutting through residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be.
- Drive sober. If you plan to attend a Halloween party where alcohol and marijuana is offered, plan ahead and designate a sober driver or call a ride service so everyone gets home safe.
- Stay alert when driving and limit the distractions from passengers and cell phones.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians:
- Trick-or-Treat as a group or accompany young trick-or-treaters.
- Choose disguises that don’t obstruct vision, opt for non-toxic face paint instead of masks, and add reflective material or tape to keep kids visible.
- Be bright at night – wear retro-reflective tape on costumes, carry a flashlight or glow sticks.
- Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
- Cross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
- Make a plan. Review trick-or-treat safety precautions and plan your route ahead of time.
- Buckle up. If driving trick-or-treaters between neighborhoods, always use appropriate seat belts or car seats and have children exit and enter on the passenger side of the vehicle.
AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its million plus members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s offices in Washington and northern Idaho, at www.AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.