On Oct. 31, millions of kids and families across the country are going to deck themselves out in their best Halloween finery, grab their candy sacks and take to the streets for trick-or-treating. It's one of the most well-known autumnal traditions, and a major fan favorite for children all over the country.
If you're too old to go door-knocking for candy, you still have to think about the young ones in your area who will be on the sidewalks and streets in the evening. Safety is an integral part of keeping Halloween fun and family-friendly for everyone involved, and that includes drivers on the roads as well. Do your part to keep Halloween safe this year by keeping these driving tips in mind.
1. Turn up your attention …
Your attentiveness should be at maximum any time you get behind the wheel of a car, but crank it into overdrive if you're driving on Halloween night. In addition to all the normal driving hazards, keep in mind that the streets will be teeming with kids, not all of who have as firm a grasp on traffic laws and etiquette as you. Add to the fact that many costumes can make it more difficult to spot children until it's almost too late, and hitting the road on Halloween can seem like a dicey affair. Just be sure to pay extra attention to your surroundings, and drive slowly – especially if you're in a neighborhood or other residential area.
2. … And turn off your phone
Everyone has been warned away from using a cellphone while driving, but we're all human, and most of us have been known to steal a glance at a text message or Facebook update while behind the wheel. Despite how safe you think doing so would be, resist the urge. Distracted driving is a serious problem. According to Distraction.gov, there are around 660,000 drivers on the road checking their phones at any given moment. That's 660,000 potential accidents that could have been avoided. Remember, Halloween isn't like other days of the year, since the number of children and families out and about is much higher than normal. Your text message or voicemail will wait until you've stopped driving – it's not worth the risk.
3. Yield to pedestrians
Again, this is something you should be doing anyway, but it's especially important to do so on Halloween evening. Keep in mind that young children may not be as aware of their surroundings as adults are, and they almost certainly lack your understanding of traffic laws. If you see a child or group of youngsters approaching a crosswalk, you can't expect that they'll stop, even if you have the right of way. Get into the mindset that Halloween driving means yielding to pedestrians any time you encounter them. It may seem like a nuisance, but if you give yourself some extra time to get to your destination, you can be on time and keep children safe in the process.
"Drinking and driving is absolutely never O.K."
4. Take a cab if you have to
While the little ones are going house-to-house asking for candy, many adults use the Halloween holiday to go to parties. As with any festive get-together, parties often mean alcohol. It goes without saying that drinking and driving is absolutely never OK, so you should plan your transportation options based on how festive you're planning on being. You may decide that the best transportation decision is to take a cab so you don't even have the option to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Just remember that Halloween is a busy night, and cab companies and ride-sharing services like Uber may be very busy, so plan your travel accordingly.
5. Keep your own trick-or-treaters safe
Of course, not all motorists on the road on Halloween night are navigating their way around crowds of trick-or-treaters. It's not uncommon for parents to load their kids into the car and do some All Hallows' Eve driving themselves.
While you're in the car, all of the above tips apply. But also keep in mind that you may spend some of your evening dodging drivers, so prepare your children ahead of time to be safe on the road. Make sure costumes are outfitted with reflective tape in prominent areas so that children can be visible to drivers – especially if your kids are sporting dark-colored costumes.