As Autumn draws to an end, our holiday season is at hand. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are family times. Times to reflect and celebrate the rituals of the closing of yet another year. It is usually a time of joy and sharing within families and communities.
It can also be a time where our children’s safety must to be considered more than ever. As children take to the streets going door-to-door on Halloween to trick-or-treat, their risk of being injured by motorists increases greatly. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities in any year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. Excited young trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, which means it is up to motorists and parents to be even more alert for them.
According to statistics provided by SafeKids Worldwide, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Halloween evening than at any other time of the year.
An accident during a happy holiday night for children and their families is devastating, so it is a night where drivers must be more on guard for those who are not thinking about safety. Our communities and authorities do their best to make the hours of trick-or-treating during Halloween as safe as possible, but responsible drivers should be on guard and follow some simple, sensible tips to do their part.
The American Automotive Association (AAA) offers these solid tips to keep our children safe on Halloween night:
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to children who may dart into the street.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. In dark costumes, they’ll be harder to see at night.
- Look for children crossing the street. They may not be paying attention to traffic and cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
- Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
- Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
- Broaden your scanning by looking for children left and right into yards and front porches.
Remember, children under 10 are usually less aware of the dangers of the road and are more susceptible when they are running from house to house in their neighborhood more intent on the fun they are having then paying attention to their surroundings. Add darkness, black costumes, and free candy to the mix and you've got a recipe for tragedy.
As a family-centered law firm, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season.