One of the biggest dangers this Halloween that you and your loved ones might face is not the haunted houses, little goblins roaming the street, or even the risk of overeating candy: it is car accidents.
Car accidents strike a peak on Halloween night – including car versus car and car versus pedestrian.
Children are twice as likely to be struck and killed by a car on Halloween night than any other night of the year. Most of these accidents happen between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm when driving visibility is reduced.
Understanding the Risks on Halloween – How Often Do Deadly Car Accidents Occur in Louisville?
The National Safety Council found that there were 6,700 pedestrian deaths in 2015 from automobile accidents. Approximately 17 percent came from pedestrians entering intersections when they were not supposed to, while another 15 percent came from incidents of pedestrians wearing dark clothing or the driver had low visibility.
Out of those 6700 deaths, 15 percent were children ages five to nine who ran into the street or an intersection – something likely to happen on Halloween night.
While the NSC data is annual, think of the reasons for those deadly accidents and then consider Halloween. Trick-or-treating often involves darker costumes, walking around at night, and children forgetting that they should be walking on the sidewalk instead of the street.
Also, the mortality spike in car accident data hits a high in October – which makes it even more apparent that Halloween is a dangerous time for any pedestrian.
Children walking around in their dark, not-so-fitting costumes through all hours of the night are at risk. After all, peak trick-or-treating hours goes from 5:30 pm (when people are coming home from work) to 9:30 pm (when the sun has set). These conditions increase the chances of a collision between pedestrians and vehicles.
What Parents Can Do to Keep Everyone Safe on Halloween Night
While the statistics are spookier than your local haunted house, you do not have to worry that your child will become a statistic. Instead, prepare the entire family for a night of festivities, fun, and too much candy by doing the following:
Add Glow Sticks to Your Child’s Costume
While it might take away the eerie factor, adding glow sticks to your child’s costume can help improve their visibility while they roam the streets on Halloween night. Use glow stick necklaces, belts, and even glow-in-the-dark treat bags if you can.
Just be cautious about the glow sticks you use. Another common injury on Halloween are burns from broken glow sticks. Use thicker and age-appropriate sticks – and never let small children chew on a glow stick.
Add Reflective Gear
If your child’s costume is exceptionally dark (e.g., dark blue, black, gray, or brown), add a reflective strip to their back. Just like when riding a bike at night, reflective strips increase the chances a car will see your child as they cross the street.
Teach Your Child about Car Safety
It is easy to assume that vehicles would look out for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, but the statistics say otherwise. Teach your child to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street, to look both ways before entering the street, and to use designated crosswalks – even if their friends choose to run across the road outside of them.
Accompany Younger Children
Children under the age of 12 should never trick-or-treat without an adult. While your child might feel they are old enough to enjoy their time out with friends, now is the time to put your foot down and make sure everyone stays safe.
Skip Masks and Tripping Hazards
No costume fits perfectly, because most are designed as a one-size-fits-all situation. Regardless, you should make sure your child’s costume fits as best as it can. Skip capes and dresses that are too long and could trip your child. If they were to trip in the middle of the road, a car might not see them as they pass through.
Also, keep your child’s field of vision clear. There is no need for bulky masks that reduce their visibility or eyewear that makes things even darker than they usually are at night.
Some streets are not equipped with street lamps, which means your child is wandering around in the dark and all the drivers can rely on is their headlamps. Give your child a way to not only show cars that they are there, but also to avoid tripping hazards on the sidewalk by walking around with a flashlight.
Drive Safely Yourself
If you need to drive on Halloween, keep a lookout for small children. Some children start their trick-or-treating as early as 4:00 pm on Halloween night (especially if it falls on a school night). For 2018, Halloween is on a Wednesday, which means early trick-or-treaters is likely.
As you drive home, use extra caution going through the streets and especially when passing parked cars.
If you host a Halloween party this year, do not let any of your guests leave while intoxicated. Not only are they at a higher risk for causing a severe accident, but you might be held liable for the crash they cause – you supplied the alcohol.
When Tragedy Occurs on Halloween, Know Who to Call
If you or a loved one is injured on Halloween night in a motor vehicle accident, you might be entitled to compensation. Speak with an attorney about your injuries to explore your options for compensation.
When drivers are negligent, victims of the accident may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain, suffering, or the costs of losing a loved one when death occurs.
Hold drivers accountable for their irresponsible actions by contacting an injury advocate.
For your injury case, speak with attorney Seth Gladstein at the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC. Call 502-791-9000 to request a free consultation or contact us online with your questions.