The California Office of Traffic Safety offers the following advice for children, parents and drivers for a safe Halloween:
Halloween carries a double whammy of scariness, ranking as both the day with the highest number of child pedestrian deaths, and one of the holidays with the highest number of DUI deaths. The number of deaths among pedestrians ages five to fourteen is four times higher between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Halloween than on any other evening of the year. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is providing tips to trick-or-treaters, parents, and partygoers to keep everyone safe this Halloween.
“Halloween is meant to be a time of fun for kids and adults alike,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “A little planning ahead, plus some extra caution that night, can keep everyone safe on our streets this year.”
When selecting a costume and planning for trick-or-treating, parents need to consider safety, not just what’s cute or spooky. In addition, excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, so motorists and parents must be even more alert. Keep these tips in mind when sending your princess, goblin, or super hero out:
- Plan your route ahead of time on well-lit streets. Avoid busy streets.
- Choose a costume that makes it easier to walk, see and be seen. Light color costumes are best.
- Select costumes, masks, wigs, or beards made of flame retardant materials (check the labels). Avoid flimsy, lightweight fabrics and costumes with billowing skirts or loose baggy sleeves.
- A mask may keep kids from seeing well, so make sure they take it off before crossing the street. Consider using makeup instead of a mask for added safety.
- It’s best to trick-or-treat when it’s still light outside, but carry a flashlight so trick-or-treaters can see and drivers can see them.
- Use retro-reflective tape on costumes. Be creative in applying to make it fun to be seen.
- Have a parent, older brother or sister trick-or-treat with little ones. If someone older cannot go, make sure the kids trick-or-treat with a group.
- Cross only at corners. Never cross between parked cars or in the middle of a block.
- If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing traffic.
- Wait until you get home to sort, check and eat treats.
Halloween has also become known as an adult party night, leading to drunk and drugged driving, and even more dangers fueled by costumes and the excitement of the night. Motorists, partygoers and hosts should keep these tips in mind:
- Avoid driving through residential areas where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals. The risk of killing a pedestrian increases more than many people realize with just small increases in speed. A pedestrian is nearly twice as likely to be killed if they’re hit by a car going 30 mph compared to if they’re hit at 25 mph.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curb, and in dark costumes – they'll be harder to see at night. Also, be aware that trick-or-treaters may not be paying attention to traffic and may run out mid-block or between parked cars. Motorists should scan far ahead when driving in residential areas, watch for children and cautiously monitor their actions. Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible – even in daylight.
- Plan ahead if you will be drinking. Designate a sober driver. If you are already out and have had too much to drink, call a taxi, friend or family member to drive you home.
- Party hosts should have plenty of food on hand for everyone throughout the evening and several non-alcoholic drink choices for the designated drivers. Don’t allow anyone to leave if you have any doubts about their ability to drive.