AAA reminds trick-or-treaters and drivers to exercise extreme caution
BOISE – (October 28, 2019) – Zombies, superheroes and wizards will soon roam Idaho neighborhoods in search of candy, but AAA reminds drivers and trick-or-treaters to avoid an unwanted scare by putting safety first. Halloween is one of the deadliest days of the year, with children twice as likely to be killed by a car on Halloween night as on any other night of the year.
“The excitement of Halloween can lead to risky and dangerous behavior, especially for kids who are taking part for the first time,” says Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “Parents and drivers need to exercise caution to prevent a joyful evening from taking an unfortunate turn.”
FOR TRICK-OR-TREATERS AND PARENTS
- Keep costumes cool and safe. Wear a costume that can be easily seen – add reflective tape if necessary. Your costume should not obstruct your vision or prevent you from moving quickly. Face paints are a good alternative to masks, which can limit peripheral vision.
“If it’s hard to see your child at night with his or her costume on, it will be even more difficult for drivers who are moving at faster speeds,” Conde said. “Please provide glow sticks, flashlights, or bright, reflective trick-or-treat bags that your kids can carry with them.”
- Don’t cut corners. It may be tempting to zig-zag back and forth across the street to houses with their lights on, but that can lead to an accident or serious injury. Always cross at corners and designated crosswalks.
- Put away the phones. Focus on fun, and not on distracting devices. Attempting to film or interact on social media while walking or driving can have serious consequences.
- Stick to the safety plan. Travel with young children in familiar areas that are well-lit, preferably with sidewalks. If kids are old enough to go out on their own, establish a return time and route before they leave, and have them go in groups. “Parents should instruct their children not to eat any treats until they return home,” Conde said. “In addition, kids should never enter a stranger’s home or garage to retrieve candy.”
FOR DRIVERS ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT
- Ditch the distractions. Please don’t use a smartphone or mobile device while driving on Halloween night – an excited child could unexpectedly dart across the street.
“Technology is no substitute for an engaged driver,” Conde explained. “All of the pedestrian detection systems that AAA recently tested were proven to be ineffective at night – when 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur.”
- Drive sober. In recent years, almost half of motorist fatalities on Halloween night have involved a drunk-driving crash. Make plans to get home safe before you celebrate, such as a designated driver or ride-hailing service.
- Slow down. According to AAA’s research, a pedestrian who is hit by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph is twice as likely to be killed compared to a car traveling at 25 mph. On Halloween night, it’s especially wise to drive below the speed limit in residential neighborhoods.
- Be careful backing up. Your car could have a rear blind zone that may be hiding some young trick-or-treaters from view. While back-up cameras can help, don’t rely on technology alone. If you’re not sure, please inspect around the vehicle before backing up, and use mirrors, too.
“We hope everyone will keep these safety basics in mind to have a Happy Halloween,” Conde said.