Many households across the state of Tennessee will be extra busy this week, as parents and children are putting the finishing touches on Halloween treats, decorations and, of course, costumes. However, before heading out on the night designated for trick-or-treating, both motorists and parents need to take a moment to think about safety.
That's because the risk of serious and even deadly pedestrian accidents increases significantly on Halloween night due to the presence of so many more people on the streets, particularly children who may dash out into the streets out of excitement to get to the next house.
To illustrate just how heightened this risk actually is, consider the following:
- Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the likelihood of a child being struck by a motorist on Halloween are four times greater than any other day.
- Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that Halloween consistently ranks among the top three days for pedestrian-related personal injuries and fatalities.
What can motorists do to avoid causing pedestrian accidents on Halloween?
- Abide by all posted traffic signs/signals, and drive extra slowly in residential neighborhoods -- 5 miles-per-hour below the posted limit -- for the entire day.
- When traveling through residential neighborhoods look for children on roadways, curbs, medians, and crossings, keeping one foot hovering near the brake as children can suddenly run into the street.
- Make sure your headlights are on -- even during daylight hours -- as it makes the vehicle more visible to pedestrians.
- Use extra care when entering/exiting streets, alleys and driveways.
What can parents do to keep their kids safe on Halloween?
- Make certain to accompany kids for a night of trick-or-treating and, prior to heading out, instruct them about road safety (staying on the sidewalk as much as possible, crossing only at corners, looking both ways before crossing, etc.)
- Outfitting costumes and treat buckets with reflective tape so that they are more visible to motorists.
- Avoiding long or billowy costumes that can pose tripping hazards ,or masks or other disguises that can obstruct vision.
- Carrying flashlights so motorists have another visual cue to remind them to slow down.
Here's hoping this proves to be a happy and safe Halloween for all children. However, in the unfortunate event of a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent motorist, it's important for parents to remember that they do have options.
Source: AAA Exchange, "Halloween safety," Accessed Oct. 27, 2014