Ghouls and ghosts and goblins should be the only things kids have to be afraid of during the Halloween season. Distracted or unsafe drivers should not be an issue. But unfortunately, they can be.
That’s why as drivers, we need to be extra aware as Halloween approaches. If you aren’t a parent, you might not know when trick-or-treating takes place in your area. But it shouldn’t take much effort to find out when it is. You can ask a neighbor. An online search or a call to your City Hall likely will help you find out. Once you know when trick-or-treating is in your area, it is up to you as a driver to take extra care if you are on the roads during the event. If you are on the roads and see swarms of costumed kids, it is time to slow down and watch the road extra closely.
Here are some tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for driving safely during trick-or-treat events in your area:
- Drive slowly, and don’t pass stopped vehicles. The driver may be stopping to drop off children who are trick-or-treating.
- Park your mobile phone. Avoid distractions by waiting until you’ve stopped to call, text, or surf, as you should every time you are behind the wheel.
- Watch for children darting into the street. Kids can cross the street anywhere, and most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections.
- Yield to young pedestrians. Children might not stop, either, because they don’t see your vehicle approaching or don’t know how to safely cross the street.
- Communicate with other drivers. Always use your turn signals. And if you have to pull over to drop off or pick up your kids, turn on your hazard lights.
If you are a parent with young children, you probably are already thinking about their costumes and planning for the big night of trick-or-treating. But costumes and candy shouldn’t be your only concern. As parents, we also must make sure our children are knowledgeable about trick-or-treat safety.
To keep your own kids safe as they are trick-or-treating:
- Teach them how to safely cross streets. They should look both ways and cross only at corners and crosswalks.
- Consider indoor community Halloween programs for younger kids. Some communities also offer to help you inspect your kids’ treats to make sure they are safe to eat.
- Brighten them up. Give them flashlights and glow sticks, and/or use reflective tape on their costumes, so drivers can see them.
Halloween should be a very fun time of the year. Don’t let a lack of preparation or awareness ruin the fun for your family, or someone else’s family. Be safe and have fun this Halloween.