When Halloween arrives, drivers need to be extra cautious on the roads. Indiana University has reported there are double the number of children who are killed in car accidents on Halloween compared with on other days of the year.
These children are killed in pedestrian crashes by drivers, with 70 percent of the accidents occurring outside of intersections and crosswalk areas. Drivers can help to bring down death rates if they follow these five simple tips for the prevention of car accidents on Halloween night:
- Avoid Distractions: Drivers need to stay alert at all times and should avoid being on their cell phones or using any electronic devices. A driver on his phone is going to have delayed reaction times and may not see a child until it is too late to stop. Even drivers on hands free phones can present an added risk of collisions to young children. Kids are often harder to see on Halloween as they have costumes on that may be dark in color. You need to be paying careful attention so you see all children who cross your path.
- Stay Sober: Patch reports that 23 percent of pedestrian accidents on Halloween night involved drivers who have a BAC above the legal limit. Impaired driving causes delayed reactions and can cause drivers to be unable to maintain their lanes. Drunk drivers could hit children on sidewalks, or could be unable to stop in time to hit a child who is crossing the road. If you plan to drink to celebrate Halloween night, be sure you have a designated driver.
- Drive Slowly: Cars that are moving at a slower speed will have a shorter stopping distance because the vehicle has less forward momentum the brakes need to fight against. A car that can stop faster is less likely to strike a child. Even if your car does hit a child, the child is far more likely to survive the crash and to sustain only minor injuries if your vehicle is going slowly, compared to a faster moving car.
- Pay Extra Attention in Residential Neighborhoods: Children typically trick-or-treat in residential neighborhoods. There will be significantly higher pedestrian traffic in these neighborhoods on Halloween than other nights, so you should try to avoid driving through these areas or make sure you are extra careful when you are on residential roads.
- Turn on headlights earlier: The majority of the fatal pedestrian collisions happen between the hours of 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM on Halloween night. Drivers can turn their lights on to better see children during the earlier hours so they can avoid causing accidents and injuries.
If drivers make unsafe choices and fail to exercise reasonable care, they could become legally liable for the injury or death of a child in a pedestrian crash. It is a smart choice for drivers to simply slow down and be a little extra careful so kids can have a fun Halloween free of tragedy.