Pedestrian Safety Tips for Fall Festivals and Halloween

When Halloween arrives, over 40 million children will take to the streets to fill their bags with candy. Unfortunately, children are over twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween than on any other night. This is due to the increase in pedestrians on and near roadways on Halloween, many of whom don’t understand walking safety or are wearing dark costumes that limit visibility.

Familiarize yourself with pedestrian safety tips to share with your children this Halloween season to prevent an accident from occurring.

Safety Risks of Trick-or-Treating

Halloween and fall festivals increase the risk of a pedestrian accident for children who venture door-to-door in search of treats. Reasons for the increased danger on Halloween include:

  • Impaired Driving

As with many holidays, Halloween is associated with an increased rate of drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 48% of crash deaths on Halloween involved a drunk driver, and 25% of those fatalities were pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities on an average day were only 14%, showing the increased risk of being hit by an impaired driver on Halloween.

  • Halloween Costumes

While drunk driving increases pedestrians’ risk of injury or death, children’s costumes can also contribute to the danger. If the costume includes a mask, it can further decrease visibility, including peripheral vision, which can put children at risk of accidentally stepping into the path of a vehicle. Dark-colored costumes can make it more difficult for a driver to see your child.

  • Lack of Supervision

Many children set out with older siblings or friends who don’t provide adequate guidance for the increased dangers of the evening. A 2019 meta-analysis found that children between 4 and 8 are ten times more likely to be killed on Halloween than on an average day and that 6 p.m. is the riskiest time to be trick-or-treating.

Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips for Pedestrians

While Halloween festivities can put children at risk, there are some ways to mitigate the danger and allow your child to enjoy the holiday. Follow these pedestrian tips for a worry-free Halloween:

  1. Wear Bright Colors or High-Visibility Gear

If your child is planning to wear a difficult-to-see costume that is a dark color like black, brown, or maroon, invest in reflective tape or high-visibility gear. Place strips of visibility tape on your child’s front and back, or have them wear a high-vis harness or vest to help drivers see your child at night.

Give your child a flashlight to carry to help them see in the dark and make them more visible to others.

  1. Abide Road Signs and Signals

To avoid interacting with traffic, stay on sidewalks while trick-or-treating. Visit each house on one side of the road before safely crossing at a designated crosswalk to visit the homes on the other side of the street. Wait for the traffic signals at crosswalks and pay attention to speed limits and other neighborhood traffic signs.

By abiding by all road signals and signs, you can reduce the risk of an accident.

  1. Plan Ahead and Ensure Your Child is Not Alone

Perhaps the best way to keep your child safe during Halloween is to provide them with supervision from a responsible adult. Accompany your child on Halloween, or ensure they walk with a trusted family member or another adult.

If your child is trick-or-treating with a group of friends, implement the buddy system. Ensure your child has a partner to stay with throughout the evening. Additionally, discuss a plan with your child if they get separated, including how they can contact you and where to meet.

  1. Watch for Impaired Drivers

On Halloween, it is helpful to know the signs of impaired driving to avoid an accident with an under-the-influence driver. Look for behavior like erratic stopping or slowing, swerving, or not obeying stop signs or traffic lights.

If you notice a driver who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, stay clear of their path and consider calling 911 to report them so they don’t injure anyone else.

How to Keep Pedestrians Safe as a Driver

If you’re driving on Halloween, you have a responsibility to drive carefully and keep the children safe. Keep these points in mind if you’re on the road on Halloween:

  • Reduce your speed
  • Avoid busy neighborhoods if possible
  • Use turn signals
  • Stay alert and look out for small children or teenagers near the road
  • Stay sober

Personal Injury Attorneys at Cofman Townsley

If you or your child suffer injuries on Halloween, contact a personal injury attorney from Cofman Townsley. We can help you understand your rights as a pedestrian in Missouri and seek compensation from a negligent driver.

Contact us for a free consultation to learn your legal options and move forward with your case.