For Greene County News
MIAMI VALLEY — Halloween is just around the corner, and this year’s calendar has it landing on a Saturday — causing an expected rise in the number of partygoers and trick-or-treaters taking to the streets on Halloween night.
Fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes rise nearly 50 percent when Halloween falls on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Nearly 40 percent of fatal crashes on Halloween night involve an impaired driver, while one-third of Halloween crash fatalities involve a pedestrian.
“The combination of drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween night is a deadly mix, so it’s critical for both motorists and pedestrians to take extra caution and make sure this is a safe and happy Halloween for everyone,” AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican said.
AAA suggests partygoers and trick-or-treaters reduce their risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash by doing some advance planning:
Partygoers and Hosts
– Make plans to get home safely. If intending to consume alcohol, make plans to get home safely by selecting a designated driver or ensuring cab service is available from the party location.
– Consider an overnight stay. If attending a party at a friend’s home, consider asking to stay overnight. If participating in festivities in a downtown or commercial area, look into hotel accommodations within walking distance. Many hotels offer special Halloween weekend rates and promotions.
– Have safe transportation options ready. If hosting a party with alcohol, compile a list of phone numbers including local cab companies and organizations offering designated driver services to have readily available should guests need a safe way home.
– Plan your travel route carefully. Try to avoid cutting through residential areas that will likely have a large number of trick-or-treaters. If providing directions to a party, make sure to not route guests through residential areas unnecessarily.
– Take care of designated drivers and offer alternatives to alcohol. Plan to have non-alcoholic drink options available for designated drivers and others. Serve plenty of food so partygoers do not drink on empty stomachs.
Trick-or-Treaters and Parents
– Select highly visible costumes. Look for light, bright and reflective costumes that make trick-or-treaters easy to see. Add reflective tape to costumes and treat buckets and bags to increase visibility.
– Ensure costumes fit well. Have trick-or-treaters try on, walk and play in costumes and shoes in advance to check fit. Make sure nothing comes loose or might cause the child to trip. Check that wigs or other accessories do not obstruct the child’s view.
– Review safety precautions with children. Include traffic safety rules in the review such as stay on the sidewalk, cross the street at crosswalks, avoid walking in front of, behind or between parked cars and stop at driveways to make sure no vehicles are coming in and out.
– Plan trick-or-treating route and supervision in advance. Avoid areas with heavy vehicle traffic and look for well-lit streets with sidewalks. Make arrangements for an adult or a responsible teen to accompany younger trick-or-treaters.
– Get a flashlight with fresh batteries. A flashlight can help trick-or-treaters see and be seen, but it should never be directed at someone’s eyes including those of passing motorists.
AAA encourages drivers to be especially cautious while backing out of neighborhood driveways. Last year tests by AAA highlighted the safety benefits of rear-view camera systems in spotting people or objects behind vehicles, such as trick-or-treaters. AAA’s tests found that these systems, which are designed to reduce back-over fatalities, improved rear visibility by an average of 46 percent.
Although cameras dramatically improve the rear blind zone, they do not show 100 percent of the area.
“Rear-view cameras are a great supplement for drivers,”Antrican said. “But cameras don’t replace the need to check around your vehicle for obstacles before backing up.”