As October 31 approaches, all I can think about is trick-or-treating, haunted houses and costume parties. It’s a fun time of year to dress in a crazy costume, get together with friends and load up on sugar. On such an exciting and busy night spent outdoors, it’s important to remember that, while having fun, staying safe should be a top priority. Here are eight tips to help when behind the wheel and on foot.
Four safe-driving tips to remember
Although you may usually drive at a certain speed around your neighborhood on a daily basis, on Halloween, be extra careful to go slow and be alert along roads, driveways and alleys. Take your speed into consideration, especially when driving in residential areas or where sight distance is limited, being conscious that there may be pedestrians of all ages about. You don’t want to find you have too little time to stop should anyone unexpectedly enter the road, or fail to notice someone because you’re going too fast.
It is especially important to avoid distracted driving on Halloween. Put your phone down so you can keep your full attention on the road. Take off any masks or large hats that could get in your way or impair your vision while driving. If you’re playing Halloween music, keep it at a level that enables you to hear if there are any kids and other pedestrians around.
Halloween can bring about some foggy weather to go with the dark nights, so always remember to use your lights when needed.
If you’re celebrating Halloween with alcohol, designate a sober driver, or alternatively call a family member or friend for a ride, call a taxi or use public transportation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises calling local law enforcement should you see a drunk driver on the road. If you know someone who is going to drive drunk, take their keys away and help make other travel arrangements, says the NHTSA.
Off the road, here are four safety tips for pedestrians to keep in mind
Make yourself visible
On a dark night like Halloween, make sure that drivers can see you walking the streets, and that your friends can find you in the dark. Try putting on reflective tape as an accent to your costume or carry a flashlight or glow stick. This will make you and your group visible to each other and to drivers trying to navigate the streets. It’s also a good idea to opt for face paint rather than a mask, which could obstruct vision.
Stay on the sidewalk
It’s safer to be on the sidewalk than in the road, so always take that option where available. “If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic, as far to the side of the road as safely possible,” advises the NHTSA, “so you can quickly move out of the road if you feel threatened by traffic.” Also, expect that drivers will not see you and wait for them to pass.
Cross streets correctly
It’s important to follow the basic rules of the road. Cross the street where there’s a traffic signal but still be alert when you have the right of way – make sure the traffic has stopped or passed before heading across.
Plan your way home
Before going out, plan a safe way to get home at the end of the night, especially if you’re planning to drink alcohol.“Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving,” states the NHTSA. Consider a buddy system to get each other home safely, or take public transportation or call for a ride.