TOWSON, MD (October 25, 2017) –– While Halloween is not until Tuesday, October 31, many parties will be held this weekend and some neighborhoods have scheduled trick-or-treating as well.
AAA Mid-Atlantic is offering key tips to help all be safe and festive, whether they are out trick-or-treating or at a bar or house party this weekend or on Halloween.
“As children take to the streets to trick-or-treat, their risk of being injured by motorists increases greatly,” states Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic.
In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. 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. “Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, it’s even more important that motorists and parents pay attention,” adds Averella.
Partygoers are reminded to designate a sober driver or to make plans in advance to take a taxi, Uber or Lyft or public transportation, if they plan to drink. The combination of drinking and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween has been a deadly combination.
Halloween is a statistically dangerous night for drunk driving. In 2015 alone, over half (52 percent) of all highway fatalities across the country on Halloween night involved a driver or motorcyclist with a .08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) or higher, according to NHTSA. “Drivers need to be alert and vigilant when going out on Halloween night. Driving while drunk, distracted or impaired, is a recipe for disaster,” commented Averella.
A few scary statistics:
- An estimated 40 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 typically go trick-or-treating in the United States, according to the US Census Bureau. With that many children walking around, accidents increase.
- One-third of Halloween crash fatalities involve a pedestrian.
- Forty-three percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween (6 p.m. October 31st to 5:59 a.m. November 1st) from 2009 to 2013 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. (Source: NHTSA)
- On Halloween Night alone, 119 people lost their lives (between 2009-2013).
- Children trick-or-treating and the parents who accompany them are also at risk, as 19 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night (between 2009-2013) involved drunk drivers.
AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following tips to keep everyone safe this Halloween:
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least five 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.
- Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
- Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.
- Use mass transit or call a taxi.
- Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe and always offer alcohol-free beverages.
- If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).
- Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.
- Ensure an adult or older, responsible youth is available to supervise children under age 12.
- Plan and discuss the route your trick-or-treaters will follow.
- Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
- Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never to enter a stranger’s home or garage.
- Establish a time for children to return home.
- Tell children not to eat any treats until they get home so parents can examine the candy for choking hazards and evidence of tampering. Eat only factory-wrapped treats and avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
- Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
- Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and visible with retro-reflective material.
- Be bright at night – wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and treat buckets to improve visibility to motorists and others.
- Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision, and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.
- Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.
- Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries, and place it face down in the treat bucket to free up one hand. Never shine it into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
- Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets, if possible.
- If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
- Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
- Cross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
- Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
- Tell your parents where you are going.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit AAA.com.