WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Halloween will be filled with trick-or-treaters throughout neighborhood streets, both pedestrians and drivers play an important role in making it a safe night.
Halloween is one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians. A reminder that you should always be prepared with flashlights and reflective clothing, and always make sure to stick together if you’re out with your family trick-or-treating.
“We want to get the word out as much as possible to not only the motorists but to the parents to accompany their children and to try to be as visible as possible and try to be as safe as possible, stay out of the roadway,” said Ludlow Police Chief Daniel Valadas.
Between 2002 and 2022 there were 57 pedestrians under 18 involved in crashes on October 31. AAA reports that Halloween is the second deadliest day for pedestrians, in Massachusetts more children are struck by vehicles on Halloween than any other day of the year.
“Whether you’re out trick-or-treating with children or getting together with friends, safety should be paramount on Halloween,” said Mark Schieldrop, AAA Northeast Senior Spokesperson. “Drivers must be especially vigilant between 4 p.m. and midnight, when pedestrians are the most vulnerable.”
Chief Valadas told 22News that the time of day creates for even more hazardous conditions, “With that kind of volume right at dusk, which is always a high accident period when you have any change in visibility, especially if you have rain or cloudy weather. It’s a combination that we don’t like.”
Drivers are urged to follow these safety tips provided by AAA Northeast:
- Avoid neighborhood shortcuts. If possible, avoid cutting through residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.
- Watch for children in the street or walking on medians and curbs. Excited trick-or-treaters, often in dark costumes, may not pay attention to traffic and may cross mid-block or between parked cars.
- Slow down. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if hit by a car traveling 35 mph compared to 25 mph. What seems like a small difference – just 10 mph – can be the difference between life and death.
- Drive sober. Alcohol-impaired drivers make up about one-third of all motor vehicle deaths nationwide, with an average of one drunk driving fatality every 39 minutes in 2021, the last year of available federal data. That year, across the country, 38 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on Halloween night. Always designate a sober driver or find some alternate means of transportation.
Before heading out to trick or treat, here are some tips for parents and children:
- Trick-or-treat together. AAA recommends that parents accompany youngsters at least until the age of 12.
- Review trick-or-treating safety precautions and plan the route ahead of time. Remind children never to cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
- Check costumes. Choose disguises that don’t obstruct vision and where possible use face paint instead of masks. Check and adjust the length of costumes to avoid tripping and add reflective material or tape to keep kids visible. Carry a flashlight.
- Buckle up. If driving trick-or-treaters between neighborhoods, always use seat belts or appropriate car seats, no matter how short the trip is. Have children exit and enter from the sidewalk rather than from the road when possible.
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