PHOENIX - More frightening than the ghosts and goblins that fill the streets trick-or-treating on Halloween night, are the fatal statistics involving car accidents. According to AAA, October 31 is the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians.
This holiday, the auto club is urging motorists and pedestrians to take extra precautions to avoid a traffic nightmare.
"On Halloween night, it's imperative for adults to be especially vigilant during nighttime hours, when pedestrians are most vulnerable," said Linda Gorman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for AAA Arizona. "Whether walking or driving, AAA urges all road users to utilize extra caution, be mindful of their surroundings and celebrate responsibly."
AAA offers the following precautions for safer roads:
- Avoid neighborhood shortcuts. If possible, avoid cutting through residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be walking. Watch for pedestrians who may not see you and avoid distractions. If providing directions to a party, try not to route guests through neighborhoods unnecessarily.
- Watch for children in the street. Watch for children walking on streets, driveways, medians and curbs. Excited trick-or-treaters, often in dark costumes, may have reduced visibility, and may not pay attention to traffic and cross mid-block or between parked cars.
- Slow down. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if they're hit by a car traveling at 35 mph compared to 25 mph. What seems like a small difference-just 10 mph-can be the difference between life and death.
- Get home safe. If you plan to drink or are hosting a party where alcohol will be consumed, ensure that you and/or your guests have a designated driver or another safe route home, such as Tipsy Tow, a free service offered by AAA and the Beverage Alcohol Community Information Council. Tipsy Tow provides a free tow and ride home for a driver, one passenger and their vehicle for free up to 10 miles. Halloween service will begin on Saturday, October 29 at 6 p.m. and runs through 6 a.m. Sunday, October 30. It does not run on Halloween. For more information, visit Tipsy Tow’s website.
AAA offers the following tips for parents to help keep their trick-or-treaters safe:
- Trick-or-Treat together. AAA recommends that parents accompany young trick-or-treaters.
- Make a plan. Review trick-or-treating safety precautions and plan the route ahead of time. Remind children to stop at the end of driveways to check for cars, and to never cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
- Check costumes. Choose disguises that don't obstruct vision, and opt for non-toxic face paint instead of masks. Check and adjust the length of costumes to avoid tripping, and add reflective material or tape to keep kids visible. Trick-or-treaters should also carry a flashlight with fresh batteries to help them see and be seen.
- 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.
The best plan for Halloween: If you don’t have to drive, DON’T.
We all know that the streets are filled with kids. We all know that “black” is the most prevalent Halloween, scary color. We all know that kids are excited, sugar-filled and unpredictable. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
My three kids are at the tail end of their trick-or-treating years, but that also means that they will be driving in the next few years. One worry evolves into another.
Keep your kids safe, no matter what their age. Remember, in a serious or fatal injury accident, no matter who may have been right or wrong, NO ONE WINS.
Have a safe Halloween