We’re now just a day removed from Halloween, and although we’ve focused a lot in recent weeks on how parents can protect their children from potential harm while they’re out trick-or-treating or how to ensure decorations aren’t going to pose unnecessary fire threats, today we’d like to take a look at those things that drivers ought to do to minimize the threat of an accident. To that end, persons who know they’re going to be driving this Halloween ought to consult the tips from the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety as related by the Utah Safety Council.
Not surprisingly, many of the precautions you should take tomorrow night are the same that should be required every day of the year. Using a cellphone to text or talk in the state of California is illegal, so there should never come a time when you use a handheld phone at the wheel. This is particularly important on Halloween, when one distraction is all it takes to put a child crossing the road in danger.
Drunk driving is another one of those things that is unacceptable under any circumstances, but it’s particularly incongruous on Halloween given the children you’re endangering by crawling into the driver’s seat. Considering the number of Halloween parties that take place and the number of people that imbibe too much at those parties, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that two in three deaths on Halloween can be attributed to alcohol. The lesson should be clear: refrain from alcohol consumption if you’re going to be driving.
Those other precautions that should carry over from every other part of the year include keeping one’s speed in check, especially in residential neighborhoods, and making sure that headlights and brake lights are in adequate repair. Defense driving must be your goal, especially in the prime trick-or-treating hours between four and eight.
Understand that there are going to be hordes of children out and about, and their excitement over the holiday could cause them to not be as attentive to safety. Pay attention not just at crosswalks but all along your route. Children may lunge into the street at any time, and you need to be ready to stop when that occurs. If another vehicle has stopped, you should assume they’re doing so for passing children and follow their lead. And when you’re pulling into or out of a driveway, be absolutely certain there are no children in your path.
Finally, one thing that you may not have thought of: if you’re going to a costume party, make sure your outfit doesn’t impede your ability to safely pilot a vehicle. This is extra important if your costume comes with a mask; that mask needs to remain stowed until you’re out of the car.