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Halloween is a fun holiday for many families. Children get dressed up and go trick-or-treating to get a lot of candy. It is a night when the street will be packed with young trick-or-treaters with candy on their mind.
As children go around the neighborhood, they do not always remember how to pay attention, particularly when they cross the street. The number of fatal car accidents rises significantly on Halloween night, and it is up to motorists to be extra vigilant, especially when it is dark.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween. On average, there are about 2.6 child pedestrian fatalities per day, however, that number jumps to 5.5 fatalities on Halloween night, with children between 12 to 15 years old being the most impacted.
Given the increased dangers for pedestrians and children on this night, it is even more important that drivers are extra vigilant when they are out on the road. There are a few tips that drivers should take to ensure everyone’s safety on this evening.
Particularly in residential neighborhoods, you need to modify your speed to account for children running around. You should also drive slowly as you pull out of your driveway in anticipation of trick-or-treaters walking up and down the sidewalk. By driving slower, you can stop quicker if someone unexpectedly jumps out in front of your car.
While it is always important to pay attention to the road, it is more so on Halloween. You need to avoid distractions, such as using your cellphone or adjusting your radio. Distracted driving should always be avoided, your attention should be on the road.
Do not wait for the sun to set fully before you turn on your headlights. Children trick-or-treat well past dark, and it can be dangerous for those who are in dark-colored costumes. Turning your headlights on early will prevent you from getting caught without lights when it gets dark.
While you are driving on Halloween night, you may encounter a vehicle pulled on the side of the road. Approach and pass these vehicles with caution. Many times, it is a parent dropping off or picking up children.
Keep your radio turned off, and open your windows so that you can hear everything that is going on around you. If you can hear children nearby, you will be more cautious with how you drive as you approach crosswalks and other areas.
Even though Halloween is mostly for children, adults still have their own fun and attend parties. There can be alcohol at Halloween parties. When you drink, your senses are impaired, and you will not react as quickly as you normally do. That can make for a dangerous combination on Halloween night. You should not drink and drive, and if you find yourself unable to drive, have a friend or hire a rideshare service.
Other parents might be driving their own children around for trick-or-treating on this night. While it is important that you make sure your child is buckled up, you should not do it while they are in their costume. Regardless of whether they are in a car seat or a regular seat, their costume could have extra padding or a hard surface that will make it difficult to fully secure the child.
When you pull over to drop your child off for trick-or-treating, be sure to do it in a safe spot. Turn on your hazards, and have all the children exit onto the curb and not the street. Finally, pull over somewhere where you will not have to back up to leave. Backing up can be more dangerous with children running around.
If you do have to back up, you should have another person stand outside your car who can help direct you out of the space and keep an eye out for anyone getting near your vehicle as you start to move.
While drivers should increase their vigilance as they make their way around on Halloween night, pedestrians and trick-or-treaters should be cognizant of cars in the road and act accordingly. They should make themselves as visible as possible, including wearing a bright-colored costume or walking around with a flashlight. This will keep you visible to other pedestrians and drivers, particularly as it begins to get dark.
Always make sure to walk on the sidewalk as you go from house to house, and stay out of the road unless you are crossing. When you do cross, you should do so only at designated locations, such as crosswalks. Always look both ways when you cross the street or a driveway because drivers may dart out without looking.
Halloween can be a lot of fun for children as well as adults, but it can be also a very dangerous holiday. If an accident does happen, you might have legal recourse.
A collision on Halloween can be traumatic, but our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow understand how you feel, and we will have your back. Call us at 302-427-9500 or fill out our online form today to schedule your free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.