What’s the spookiest part of Halloween? The knee-high goblins and ghouls hyped-up on sugar? The playful neighbors who hide in costume to startle passing kids? Giant spider webs and plastic tombstones?
Or is it something even scarier?
Navigating neighborhood streets on Halloween can be a bone-chilling experience for many motorists. The CDC states that kids are 400% more likely to be injured by a motor vehicle on Halloween than on any other day of the year. The idea of hitting a distracted child is pretty much the worst-case scenario for most drivers.
With kids darting out in traffic in a candy frenzy, it can be an especially difficult task to avoid accidents. Following these tips for safe Halloween driving can help keep Halloween fun—without injuries.
Slow way down.
The speed you’re used to going in your neighborhood? Throw it out the window and reduce your speed even more. You may feel obnoxious to other drivers gliding down the street at a few miles per hour, but the extra drive time is worth the added measure of safety. When distracted kids step right out in front of your car—and they will—the extra half-second you’ll have to react will be invaluable. Kids are much more concerned about the Jolly Rancher at the next house than they are about jaywalking, so it’s up to you as the driver to make sure an accident doesn’t occur.
Don’t turn into a zombie.
In other words, be vigilant. When you drive on major roads you tend to pay more attention, but once you wind your car through the familiar roads of your own neighborhood it’s easy to zone out and rely on muscle memory to get you home. Remind yourself to be hypervigilant and brake for any sudden movements—it’s better to be safe than sorry. And, of course, be sure you’re not taking a break, even for a moment, to send a text or check a call.
Check your own costume (and your kids’ costumes).
Many costumes are made from thick rubber masks and long, flowing robes. If you’re driving, make sure that you have full visibility (opt for facepaint instead of a mask if you can) and ensure that your costume allows for a full range of motion.
Don’t drive in costume as an idiot (aka drunk driver).
This one is mentioned so much that it may seem overdone, but too many people drive while intoxicated, buzzed, high, or distracted. Make sure that you have a responsible driver who will take you home if you plan to imbibe, and anytime you’re even the slightest bit unsure of your driving capabilities, opt not to get behind the wheel at all costs.
Halloween can be fun for everyone, if everyone is responsible. Make sure that you as a driver and you as a parent are looking out for the good of those lovable little monsters.