How Can I Drive Safely on Halloween?
One of the most beloved times of the year, Halloween is celebrated by both adults and children alike. A time of silly costumes, devouring candy, and trick or treating for the youngsters is joyously combined with parties and get-togethers for the adults. However, Halloween is also a dangerous night for kids, pedestrians, and drivers on the road. It is a dangerous combination of children on the streets, darkness, and partygoers for which everyone should be aware come Halloween night.
Many experts agree that Halloween is the perfect storm of pedestrian traffic, children, darkness, and other distractions. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the risk of a pedestrian fatality increases about 43 percent on Halloween. Furthermore, driving at night is three times as risky in terms of traffic-related deaths than it is during the day, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
In 2019 alone, over 6,200 pedestrians died in a car wreck. It is obvious that Halloween is not only a fun night for all, but also a dangerous and sometimes tragic one as well.
Safety Tips for a Safe Drive on Halloween
Here are some safety tips for drivers and everyone else this Halloween:
- Watch for children. Of course, Halloween is a big night for the youngsters, as they will be out in droves. No matter what time it is on Halloween, expect that kids are going to be out trick or treating and walking along the road. Always yield to children and allow them to cross the road if necessary; pay attention, as youngsters may not use crosswalks and may attempt to cross at any point. Especially when it is darker out when it is difficult to see, always slow down when you see kids near the road and prepare yourself to stop accordingly. Children normally are not paying attention and are too focused on trick or treating that they may not be aware of a car nearby.
- Drive slowly. Again, driving slowly and preparing to stop will help keep yourself and children nearby safe from a tragic situation. It is recommended to drive five miles an hour below the speed limit in residential areas on Halloween, if not slower. Studies show that over 70 percent of accidents occurred away from crosswalks. The key to driving slowly is to keep yourself alert and be aware as kids can jump out into the street quickly, so you must be traveling slow enough to stop immediately. Furthermore, do not pass a stopped vehicle, as they are likely picking up or dropping children, or they could be walking around the car.
- Pay attention to the time. Pay attention to what time of day it is while you are driving. The hours between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. is when most children are going to be out trick or treating, so keep that in mind when traveling in residential neighborhoods, and exercise caution as always. According to data between the years 2010 and 2019, about a fifth of fatal vehicle-related accidents happened between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. This is important to remember because the afternoon rush hour falls right in the time when trick or treating starts, so perhaps change your route home and avoid residential neighborhoods.
- Use headlights. For Halloween, it is a good idea to have your headlights on at all times. This helps make your car more visible to trick or treaters or to parents who are accompanying their children. This also helps you, the driver, see kids in dark colored costumes or anyone else that would otherwise be tough to see.
- Eliminate distractions. Distracted driving is a dangerous behavior every day, as it is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the country. It is especially dangerous on Halloween, considering how many pedestrians and children will be around. Never use your cellphone while driving; just turn it off or silence it. Always pay attention to the road and your surroundings, even when you have someone in the car with you, which could be just as distracting as using your phone or adjusting the radio.
- Drive sober. Halloween is not just for youngsters, as adults are out celebrating at costume parties. It is important to remember that drinking and driving is never okay; even one drink is enough to inebriate an adult. In fact, more than a third of vehicle-related fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver. If you intend on celebrating with friends, be sure to have a designated driver to get home or use a ridesharing app so you do not get behind the wheel. If you are hosting a party, have plenty of food and water for guests, and make sure anyone who drinks either stays at your place or has an alternative way home.
- Buckle up. Make sure yourself and everyone in your vehicle is in their seats properly and wearing their seat belts. Driving safety is not just for those outside but on the inside of the car as well. When you are driving children around for trick or treating, make sure they always buckle up even if they are getting in and out several times. If you have smaller children in the car, be sure they are in the correct size car seat and are properly restrained. Furthermore, some costumes may make it difficult to buckle up properly, so keep in mind that you may have to remove the costume for the seat belt to function correctly.
- Be cautious when trick or treating. If you are transporting your trick or treaters in your car, make sure to pull over at safe locations to allow children to exit on the sidewalk and away from traffic, and be sure to use your hazard lights as well. If you have to park in a lot, park in a spot where you can just pull through and not back up, as it is hard to see children while reversing.
College Park Car Wreck Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advocate for Clients after a Holiday Accident
On any holiday, even if you are being as cautious as you possibly can, accidents still unfortunately occur. If you have been injured in an accident, reach out to the College Park car wreck lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. We will protect your rights and fight to get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.