Halloween is an exciting time of year for many young people, but it also holds its share of hidden dangers, particularly around roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and 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.
“Safety is a responsibility we all share,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “A safe Halloween means making yourself visible and exercising caution – both for motorists and pedestrians.”
To help make this a safe Halloween, AAA offers these tips:
- Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential areas. Children may unexpectedly dart out in the street or from between parked cars.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. In dark costumes, they will be harder to see at night.
- Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
- Drive sober. Nearly 40 percent of fatal crashes on Halloween night involve a drunk driver. Always designate a sober driver if you plan to drink. Visit www.PreventDUI.AAA.com to learn more.
- Parents are encouraged to walk children door to door while trick-or-treating, showing children safe places to cross the street.
- Ensure an adult or older, responsible youth is available to supervise children under age 12.
- Buckle up. If driving trick-or-treaters between neighborhoods, always use appropriate car seats and have children exit and enter on the passenger side of the vehicle.
- Bring a flashlight to help trick-or-treaters see and be seen.
- Pick a costume that is safe for your child to move in and see out of. Buy costumes and wigs labeled “flame resistant.”
- Cross the street and corners using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look both ways between crossing and keep an eye on the road while you are crossing.
- Wear light colored clothing or costumes with reflective material or tape for the best visibility. Consider using nontoxic face paint instead of masks to avoid obstructing vision.
- Stay in familiar neighborhoods.Only visit homes that have the porch light on and never go into a stranger’s house.
- Always have an adult check your treats before you eat. Discard anything that looks like it has been unwrapped or tampered with.
Parents can pick up free trick-or-treat bags for their kids at any AAA Wisconsin branch office. For a list of locations, please visit www.AAA.com.
For additional tips to keep Halloween safe, visit http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/child-safety/halloween-safety