The neighborhood may turn into a festive candy shop, with kids scurrying to and fro, door to door, and probably from one side of the street to the other. Sadly enough, this and adult parties featuring creepy drinks make everyone's favorite holiday one of the most dangerous ones, in terms of fatal accidents involving vehicles.
If you want to drive safely on Halloween, remember these basic rules:
Don't Drink and Drive
It's obvious enough, but we still want to put an emphasis: a sober driver is the surest means against road accidents. Drunk driving is a crime, no matter how small the distance you have driven impaired is. You don't want to be one of those who put everyone at risk 112 million times a year, do you?
Colorful decorations and costumes can easily distract you, but you should keep your eyes on the road at all times, turn your music down, keep your cell phone away and control the steering wheel with both hands.
Don't Use Your Cell Phone
We said it above and are going to say it again: keep your cell phone away. With all the pedestrians bustling around, you can't afford to text and drive!
Drive with Extra Care
Obey all the signs and signals you see. If you see a speed limit, make sure you drive at least 5 miles below, so that you will have enough time to react if a child darts into the street. Pay special attention when entering and exiting driveways. Turn on your headlights to be more visible, even if it is not dark yet.
Look for Children
That's right, you can't afford to rely on your reaction. Make a special effort to broaden your scanning and look for kids in the yards and front porches, on roadways, medians, and curbs. They will be harder to see in the dark with all the scary dark costumes. Look for children crossing the street: they may be distracted by all the fun and cross mid-block or between parked cars.
Avoid Driving During Trick-or-Treating Hours
It is the safest of all Halloween road safety measures! If it is possible, park your car before the candy rush hour and walk on foot.
Teach Your Kids and Neighbors to Be Sensible Trick-or-Treaters
Make sure that your own kids follow the Halloween safety tips for pedestrians and instruct your neighbors to do the same.
Plan the trick-or-treating route in advance, make sure kids do not plan on going to unfamiliar areas, discuss the possible dangers. Ask kids to inform you about any changes in the route.
Instruct your kids to stay on the sidewalk and avoid walking into the streets. If there is no sidewalk, your kids should walk on the left side of the road, facing the traffic.
If kids need to cross the road, instruct them to do it only at the corner, never between parked cars or mid-block. Explain the importance of looking both ways and listening for upcoming traffic before they cross the road.
Make sure an adult supervises the children. If there is no adult available, let kids go in a group or be accompanied by an older, responsible youth.
Make sure that your kids' costumes do not trap their feet or obstruct their vision. Avoid face masks, replace them with non-toxic face paint, if possible.
Attach retro-reflective tape to costumes and treat buckets to make kids more visible for motorists.
Equip each kid with a flashlight. Make sure it contains fresh batteries and is placed face down in the bucket. Instruct kids to never shine it towards the upcoming vehicles.
Choose to celebrate this Halloween as a safe and responsible driver! Here is one more good idea: take more driving tests to make sure you remember all driving safety rules well enough!