Ghosts and goblins may not be the scariest part of Halloween for kids. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween is the second deadliest day of the year for pedestrians. Meantime, Safe Kids USA reports that kids are twice as likely to die in a child pedestrian accident on Halloween night than any other night.
The reason that the night of October 31 brings with it a greater risk of Washington DC pedestrian accidents is that there are more kids out on the streets and sidewalks than on other nights because they are trick or treating. Also, Consumer Reports is reminding readers that this year, Halloween is on a Saturday. This means there is no school or work the next day. The NTSB says that more pedestrian accidents happen on Saturdays than on any other day of the year. Because November 1, 2009 is when we’ll turn our clocks back an hour, this year, people have one more hour to stay out on Halloween.
Just because Halloween is a time for tricks and treats doesn’t mean that drivers and pedestrians should become less vigilant when out on the streets. Little kids in costume can be hard to see—especially if they are wearing dark clothing or masks—and in the excitement to get from one house to the next a young child may run into the middle of the road unexpectedly. Parents should make sure that young kids do not walk around by themselves unattended or, at the very least, familiarize them with the rules of safe walking.
For drivers, driving drunk on any night is never a good idea. It’s an especially bad idea on Halloween night when motorists must watch out for child pedestrians. Driving slower than the speed limit can also help. Now is also a good time (as any) to stop text messaging or talking on the cell phone while driving.
Real horror of Halloween: Pedestrian deaths, USA Today, October 26, 2009
Halloween safety tips for pedestrians and drivers, Consumer Reports, October 28, 2009
Educating Child Pedestrians, WalkingInfo.org