Halloween night is one of the most deadly nights of the year for pedestrians, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Farm Insurance said in a 2012 press release that their research showed Halloween was the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians. Low visibility, heavy pedestrian traffic and the likelihood of drunk driving all combine to create this risk.
The CDC says children are four times more likely to be hit by a motor vehicle on Halloween. Not only are there more pedestrians present on the road Halloween night, but many of these pedestrians are young children excited to be trick-or-treating, and perhaps less cognizant of staying out of the road than normal.
Safety tips for parents:
- Accompany trick-or-treaters age 12 and younger. Adult supervision is important. As the adult, you can make sure children stay on the sidewalks, cross at designated crosswalks and follow other safety measures. You can help them be more aware of their surroundings on a night when distractions are everywhere.
- Make sure your trick-or-treaters can see. Masks that obscure vision, hats that fall down over a child's eyes and other problematic costuming should be avoided. You want your child to be able to see and to not have to fuss with a malfunctioning costume.
- Make sure your trick-or-treaters will be seen. Bright costumes, reflective striping, glow sticks and other visibility enhancements will go a long way in ensuring drivers can see child pedestrians on Halloween night.
Safety tips for conscientious drivers:
- DO NOT drink and drive. Florida Highway Patrol said in a 2015 press release that 45 percent of fatal crashes on Halloween involved a drunk driver. Don't go out without a plan for how you will get home with a sober driver. Even buzzed driving can significantly reduce your awareness of children on and near the roads.
- Anticipate children darting from the sidewalks, walking in the street and crossing against signals and outside of crosswalks. Because they are excited and distracted, children will be less cognizant of where they are walking.
- Eliminate distracted driving. You should never drive distracted, including on Halloween night. Glancing at your phone or other device for just a few moments takes your eyes off the road for a dangerous amount of time.
- Make sure your headlights are on. Even if you think it's bright enough outside, drive with your headlights on. Doing so will make you more visible to pedestrians.
- Don't speed. As always, obey the speed limit. Make sure you obey posted speed limits in residential areas and slow down even more if there are trick-or-treaters present.
The final takeaway is that Halloween puts children at an increased risk for getting injured in a pedestrian accident. We can all do our part to prevent such tragedies and to create a safer Halloween for America's children.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach County or any of the surrounding areas, please call the law firm of experienced injury attorney Eric Canter at 561-447-4500, for a free case evaluation. We provide consultations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.