Halloween Is One of the Deadliest Driving Days. Remember These Tips
Pets, kids, and your passengers are counting on you.
When I was a kid growing up in Indiana, trick-or-treating was awesome in my neighborhood. There were no giant Halloween pop-up stores so most of my costumes were DIY: princess (using a dress I wore as a flower girl in a wedding), 80s punk rocker (complete with 100 gummy bracelets), and Princess Leia (dual-cinnamon-bun hairdo and all) were my favorites. While we didn't have sidewalks, not many cars were rolling through there on Halloween night. And I didn't see anything nearly as cool as the Ferris Bueller costume a dad created to fit his son's wheelchair.
Like any other holiday on the calendar, tonight there will be revelry and parties, which means it's a smart idea to eschew distracted driving and driving under the influence. Tonight, however, there is one big difference: a lot of kids will be out on the roads. Not only that, but kids will be in bulky costumes (I managed to talk my son out of the full inflatable Tasmanian Devil costume he was eyeing) and visibility-reducing masks. Please, for yourself and also the little ones out and about, keep these tips in mind this evening.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a list of safe driving reminders to keep you from Monster Mashing your car into a tree while you’re out tonight and to reduce the number of fatalities. Basically, the list says to slow down, scan the road, use your hazard lights, keep your eyes on the road, and report any drunk drivers you see.
"Halloween is a notably distracting holiday that can be dangerous for trick or treaters – and anyone else out enjoying the holiday," Renee Lawson, Senior Learning Facilitator at Travelers told me. "This Halloween may be filled with pre-pandemic levels of activity, so it’s more essential than ever for drivers to look out for little ghouls and goblins."
Lawson sent me a few more Halloween reminders; it wouldn't hurt to share these with your teen drivers as well, who don't have as much experience behind the wheel:
- If you’re driving during dusk, it’s also most likely the most popular trick or treating time in your area. When behind the vehicle between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., be especially alert.
- When backing out or entering a driveway, do so very slowly and proceed with caution. Likely children are passing between parked cars or running to the next house and not keeping an eye out for you, so make sure you’re triple checking for them.
- It’s easy to want to snack on candy while you drive but wait to dig in on any of your children’s (or your) hard-earned treats until you get home. One quick peek down to unwrap a candy bar is all it takes to miss a child dressed as a black cat sprint into the road. [Editor's note: or a real black cat or dog!]
- Halloween masks can impact your eyesight and impair your ability to look out the window/in your mirrors. Make sure to take off any vision-impairing part of your costume when operating a vehicle and get back into character when you arrive at the haunt.
- One of the best parts of Halloween is admiring other people’s costumes (while showing off your own), but don’t scroll and drive.
- Similar to social media updates, sending texts or status updates while driving is extremely dangerous. Use the “Share your location” function on your phone so your friends receive automatic updates on your whereabouts.
- If you are in a car with a driver who is not paying attention to the road, make sure to speak up.
Be safe out there. Have fun. And save me a Milky Way, 'K?
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