Did you know Oct. 31 is one of the deadliest nights of the year for pedestrians? The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is encouraging drivers and pedestrians to take extra care this year to reduce accidents.
“Beware of dangers lurking behind you,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “New research from AAA shows that rear-view camera systems allow us to see about 45 percent more than we would ordinarily, but don’t rely solely on these devices. Before backing out of your driveway, double-check in all directions for little dragons, princesses and ghouls.”
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reports 120 pedestrians under the age of 16 were killed or injured in motor vehicle crashes in the state last year. Most pedestrian fatalities happen between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. To reduce the risk of a pedestrian-involved crash, take extra time this Halloween to walk around your vehicle, check mirrors and look over your shoulder carefully before reversing. The first 10 feet behind your vehicle pose the greatest back-over risk, especially for small children.
Additionally, follow these safety tips provided by AAA Oklahoma:
- Choose costumes that are not too long. Gowns, capes and the like that drape to the ground increase chances of tripping;
- Select shoes that are the proper size to give kids are sure footing
- Consider washable face paint instead of masks. Cumbersome masks are fun but can severely limit children’s vision, especially when they’re turning their heads and looking for cars at street corners
- Purchase or make costumes from flame-resistant materials
- Avoid dark costumes that are hard to notice by drivers at night and add reflective tape to costumes so children can be seen more easily
- Attach a note inside your child’s costume with your name, address and phone number on it.
- Encourage children to trick-or-treat in groups, carry flashlights, cross streets at corners and to let parents know which streets they’ll be visiting. It’s also a good idea to accompany children under 12 as they make their rounds.
- If there are no sidewalks, tell your kids to always walk facing traffic so they can see on-coming cars, and to walk as far off the roadway as possible.
Even if you're not trick-or-treating, anyone out on Halloween night should remember the occasion and exercise caution, especially while driving.
- The speed limit in most residential neighborhoods is 25 mph but on Halloween, it’s a good idea to drive even more slowly.
- Be aware that youngsters may attempt to cross streets mid-block or between parked cars.
- Look for children’s shoes or costumes under vehicles as clues that kids may suddenly dart out into the street from between parked cars.
- When driving trick-or-treaters through neighborhoods, don’t forget to use appropriate child car seats and have children exit and enter the vehicle on the passenger side.
- Designate a sober driver if you plan to drink alcohol.
(This article was last updated Oct. 12, 2016.)