Halloween is one of the most dangerous days on the road, falling just behind New Year’s Eve for accidents and injuries. The presence of sugar-obsessed kids on the street after dark adds another element of risk for drivers. If you need to drive on Halloween, here are a few tips to keep you–and everyone else–safe.
Stay Off the Road
If you can avoid driving on Halloween, consider staying home. The huge increase in pedestrian traffic, coupled with higher rates of drinking and driving, leads to a spike in car-related injuries and deaths. Tragically, many of the victims are children.
When driving, go much slower than you normally would. Expect kids to dart out into the road or through intersections without looking. Even though trick-or-treaters are likely to be fewer this year because of the pandemic, don’t assume that the streets are child-free.
Look and Look Again
One of the most dangerous parts of your drive? Leaving the driveway. Children are likely to walk across driveways, following the path of the sidewalk, without bothering to look. Ideally, parents will be there to help prevent careless crossings, but you can’t count on it. instead, you’ll need to look twice and then look again to make up for their lack of attention.
Keep in mind that kids are shorter than your average pedestrian, so check all your mirrors and your back-up camera, if you have one.
Cars and Costumes Don’t Mix
If you’re wearing a large, padded, or rigid costume, be aware that your car’s seatbelt might not function correctly in the event of a crash. That goes double for child passengers, especially those who need to use a car seat. Makeup, hats, or any other costume pieces that obscure your vision should not be worn while driving.
Keep Your Lights On
No matter the time of day, use your headlights during Halloween. It can help you be more visible to pedestrians. If you see a group of trick-or-treaters or partygoers waiting to cross the street, don’t assume that they saw your car. Slow down and make eye contact, if possible.
While driving on Halloween, minimize distractions. That means leaving your radio or at a low volume and rolling down the windows, if weather permits. Your sense of hearing is almost as important as sight! You already know that driving while using your phone is a bad idea, but it could more easily lead to tragedy on the holiday.