JACKSON, Miss. – Expect more than ghost and goblins this Halloween. Research from the nation’s largest auto insurer, State Farm, shows that the risk of a child accidently killed while walking traditionally doubles on October 31.
And it will be even more dangerous this year because Halloween is on a Friday. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of motor vehicle deaths on Halloween increases on average of 37 percent when October 31 falls on a Friday,Saturday or Sunday, compared to other days of the week.
“When Halloween falls during the middle of the work week, parties and events are spread out over several days to include the weekend,” said AAA Public Affairs Specialist Don Redman. “With Halloween on a Friday this year, most festivities are expected to take place that evening, putting a large number of adult party-goers on the road the same night as trick-or-treaters.”
To keep everyone safe, Mississippi Department of Transportation spokesperson Chrystal Milborn advises party goers not to drink and drive. “And put those cell phones down. There is no excuse for being on a cell phone while you are driving.”
AAA suggests motorists and trick-or-treaters also help to reduce their risk of being involved in a crash by doing some advanced planning:
Avoid traveling through residential areas. If possible, try to avoid cutting through residential areas where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.
Slow down. 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, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. What seems like a small difference—just 5 mph—can literally be the difference between life and death.
Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. 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 suddenly cross the street mid-block or between parked cars. Motorists should scan far ahead when driving in residential areas, watch for children and cautiously monitor their actions.
AAA recommends that parents accompany young trick-or-treaters at least until the age of 12. Since children are small and often hard to see even in well-lighted situations, it’s important to be sure a child’s Halloween costume is visible with reflective material.
Plan and discuss the route your trick-or-treaters will follow.
Have children wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision, and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint.
Parents and trick-or-treaters should cross streets only at the corner, and never between parked cars or mid-block. Be sure that approaching cars come to a complete stop before stepping into the roadway.
Get a flashlight with fresh batteries. A flashlight can help trick-or-treaters see and be seen, but it should never be directed at someone’s eyes including those of passing motorists.