Halloween is a scary night when it comes to car accidents. Every year at the end of October, road safety is threatened by combination of increased foot traffic near roads, the presence of masses of children who often do not abide by traffic rules, the element of excitement that leads many to distraction, and dangerous visibility issues caused by visually obstructive costumes and darkness after nightfall.
Whether you are behind the wheel, out celebrating the holiday at a costume party, or traversing the neighborhood with little trick-or-treaters, you will have a role to play in keeping the holiday safe for all.
To help yourself and others safe this Halloween, the following tips should help.
Tips for Halloween Drivers
- Be extra alert. Take special care driving in residential neighborhoods in the late afternoon and early evening on Halloween. The hours between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. are particularly dangerous for young trick-or-treaters. Keep an eye out for the littlest pedestrians who are not likely to understand and follow traditional road rules.
- Anticipate preoccupied pedestrians. Little kids are impulsive and careless when it comes to road safety when their attention is diverted. Halloween provides a number of dangerous diversions. Distracting costumes, the commotion of crowds of friends, and the thrill of the candy hunt can combine to take children’s attention away from the potential for danger at the sidewalk’s edge. Trick-or-treaters have a habit of getting caught up in the excitement and forgetting to look before darting into the street. Drivers must make a conscious effort to make up for their predictable inattention.
- Keep your speed in check. Driving over the speed limit is never a good idea, but on Halloween it can help to purposefully reduce speeds even further to allow more reaction time if a child unexpectedly enters the road.
- Be cautious around stopped vehicles. It is possible that a stopped vehicle is in the process of dropping off youngsters. Be patient as they exit the vehicle, or take your time passing while watching for children who might emerge.
- Avoid distractions. The best way to remain alert to possible danger is to keep distractions to a minimum. Stash electronics and turn down the sound system to give yourself the best chance of noticing any issues that may require quick action.
- Use headlights. Visibility works both ways when drivers use their headlights. Headlights illuminate the road to give drivers a better view, but they also make vehicles easier for pedestrians and others to see.
- Use turn signals. Communicate your intentions by making use of turn signals, using your headlights, and engaging your hazard lights as appropriate. Signal your turns to let other drivers and pedestrians know where you are going. Flash your headlights to tell other drivers or walkers to proceed while you wait. Turn on your hazard lights if you are pulled over to drop off or pick up passengers.
- Exit driveways carefully. Be careful backing out of driveways, since little children may be passing by on the sidewalk. Youngsters are short, so it can be difficult to see them out your rear window. Be sure to check before backing up and proceed slowly when you do.
- Do not drive drunk or impaired. If you plan to have a few drinks at a Halloween party, you should make arrangements to get a safe ride home instead of getting into the driver’s seat. Ask a friend to act as your designated driver, or call a ride-sharing service to get you home safely. If you notice a drunk driver on the road, you should call 911 to report it.
- Wear a seat belt. Halloween is no time to forgo basic car-travel safety procedures. Even when wearing an uncomfortable or bulky costume, you must be sure to secure yourself with a seat belt. All passengers should do the same, especially small children who must be safely restrained in a child car seat. If necessary, remove the costume for traveling.
Tips for Young Trick-or-Treaters and Their Parents
- Cross with the whole group. Make sure smaller children stay with a responsible adult at all times on Halloween. Older kids can pair off to visit all the houses on the block, but they should not cross streets without the rest of the group.
- Teach good crossing habits. Parents should make sure to impart good street-crossing skills as their children grow. These lessons are useful on Halloween and every other day of the year, as safe street-crossing practices are essential once children get to an age when they cross without parents. Starting at a young age, children should be taught to wait to be crossed by an adult. As they grow, youngsters should be taught to cross at crosswalks and look both ways before stepping into the street. Proper use of crosswalk signals and right-of-way rules should also be discussed.
- Stay out of the street. Wherever possible, pedestrians should stick to sidewalks, lawns, and other paths that keep them out of the street, where an accident is far more likely. If you must walk in the road, walk facing oncoming traffic and keep as close to the side of the road as possible.
- Get noticed. Turning heads with a great costume is fun, but being visible to drivers is crucial. Incorporate reflective materials or lights into dark costumes. Flashing strobe lights can serve a safety-related purpose while fitting a Halloween theme. Carrying a flashlight can provide visibility while walking and help a driver notice you in the dark.
Monmouth County Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Provide Legal Advice and Services to Individuals Who Were Harmed by Negligent Drivers
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you should be eligible to collect compensation for any losses caused by the incident. The Monmouth County car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova can help you understand your rights and help you prove your case for damages. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in Ocean County and Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.