As excitement for Halloween builds, AAA Kansas has some important safety tips for little ghosts and goblins and those who will be out on the roads this Halloween.
“Halloween is a fun time of the year for many, but it can also increase the threat to pedestrian safety and increase the risk for vehicle crashes due to impaired and distracted driving,” says Shawn Steward, public and government affairs manager for AAA Kansas. “AAA urges pedestrians and motorists alike to take extra precautions to make this a happy Halloween for all.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year.
According to 2017 Kansas Department of Transportation crash statistics (the latest year available), the 102-hour reporting period including and surrounding Halloween included nearly 800 vehicle crashes, 130 of them involving injuries, two resulting in fatalities, and 27 of the crashes being alcohol-related. Five pedestrians were injured and one was killed in these Halloween crashes.
Distracted and impaired driving add to the safety threat on Halloween. The NHTSA says that during Halloween night from 2013-2017, 42 percent of those killed were in traffic crashes that involved at least one drunk driver. Distracted driving kills 9 people and injures another 1,000 every day.
AAA Kansas Halloween Safety Tips
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to children who may dart into the street.
- Don’t drive distracted. Avoid using smartphones while behind the wheel of a car.
- Look for children crossing the street. They may not be paying attention to traffic and may cross the street mid-block or dart out from between parked cars.
- Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
- Turn your headlights on to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
- Scan yards and front porches on both sides of the street, looking for children who may quickly dart out into the street.
- Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and light in color to improve visibility.
- Be bright at night – be sure children wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and on treats buckets.
- Choose costumes that don’t obstruct vision, and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of billowy costumes to avoid tripping.
- Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.
- Ask an adult or older child to supervise children under age 12.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
- Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never enter a stranger’s home or garage.
- Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
- Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets, if possible.
- If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
- 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.
- Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
- Tell your parents where you are going.
- Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries and place it face down in the treats bucket to free up one hand. Never shine flashlights into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
- Arrange a safe ride home and/or designate a driver before heading out to any festivities. Put numbers of local cab companes, your designated driver or ridesare companies into your phone.
- Always designate a sober driver.
- If you have been drinking, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, call a rideshare or use public transportation.
- Walking impaired can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
- If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
- If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going.