EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Halloween is here which means children in costume will soon be combing their neighborhoods in search of candy.
That’s why AAA Northeast is reminding drivers to be alert and attentive when out and about.
AAA Northeast’s Mark Schieldrop said Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians. An analysis of federal crash data reveals that, between 2007 and 2021, 49 children across the country were killed on Halloween.
“Whether you’re out trick-or-treating with children or getting together with friends, safety should be paramount on Halloween,” Schieldrop said.
Schieldrop provided the following tips to keep roadways safe this Halloween:
Make sure you’re visible
The key to a safe Halloween is to make sure drivers can clearly see you. Schieldrop suggested both parents and children bring flashlights with them while trick-or-treating.
“Having that flashlight and waving it around as you’re walking will signal people that you’re there,” he explained.
Schieldrop also recommended choosing disguises that don’t obstruct your vision, adjusting the length of your costume to prevent tripping and donning reflective material to keep yourself visible to oncoming cars.
Trick-or-treat in a neighborhood
If you live on a main road, Schieldrop suggested trick-or-treating at a neighborhood instead.
“You want to go to places where there aren’t as many vehicles traveling at high speeds,” he said.
Schieldrop also said it’s best to prepare a trick-or-treating route ahead of time to avoid getting lost.
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Go in a group
Never go trick-or-treating alone.
Schieldrop suggested bringing your friends with you since there’s safety in numbers.
“When you have a big crowd of folks trick-or-treating together, that creates a buffer,” he explained.
He said parents should also accompany children under the age of 12.
Don’t assume a car will stop
Schieldrop said most accidents happen when pedestrians assume drivers can see them. He urged everyone to make sure a car has completely stopped before crossing the road.
“Make eye contact with that driver and make sure the car behind them is also stopping for you before you cross that roadway,” Schieldrop said.
Schieldrop also reminded trick-or-treaters to never cross a street mid-block or in between parked cars.
Wear a seatbelt
If you’re driving trick-or-treaters between neighborhoods, make sure everyone is buckled up.
“Sometimes we forget to buckle up, even when we’re inching a long a few miles an hour down a neighborhood street,” Schieldrop said. “That seatbelt is going to prevent injury and keep you safe.”
“We see often times people get really injured just in low-speed collisions because they’re not wearing that seatbelt,” he continued. “So, always buckle up. It doesn’t matter how short the drive or how slow you’re going.”
He recommended parents let children out onto the sidewalk and not into the road if possible.
Driving? Avoid neighborhood cut-throughs
Schieldrop said the primary responsibility of keeping Halloween safe falls on drivers.
Drivers should be especially careful between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight on Halloween. Schieldrop urged drivers to constantly be on the lookout for children walking either in the street or on medians and curbs.
You should also avoid using cut-throughs to get to your destination, since most children will be trick-or-treating in residential neighborhoods as opposed to on main roads.
Stick to the speed limit
Though you should always drive the speed limit, Schieldrop said it is extremely important on Halloween.
“The 25 mph speed limit feels kind of slow, but the reality is that at that speed, if you do strike a pedestrian, there’s a pretty good chance they will survive,” he explained. “Just going 10 mph more to 35 mph … the chance of a pedestrian dying in a crash essentially doubles, and the fatality rate really increases exponentionally the faster we go.”
Schieldrop said if you drive 40 mph through a residential neighborhood and you hit someone, you’re giving them a “death sentence.”
Though Halloween is the deadliest day for child pedestrians, Schieldrop said Nov. 1 is the deadliest day for pedestrians of all ages.
“That tells us folks are going out and partying,” Schieldrop said. “Adults are at high risk of being struck and killed from midnight on after Halloween.”
Schieldrop reminded everyone to make sure they have a safe ride home, whether that means driving sober, having a designated driver or using a rideshare service.