By AAA of Western and Central New York
Here’s hoping for all treats and no tricks this Halloween! With an estimated 41 million children between ages 5 and 14 trick or treating on Oct. 31, it’s a busy night on roads and sidewalks – and the worst night for vandalism. Halloween night is a time when motorists need to be extra vigilant on the roads, pedestrians need to light their paths to ensure they’re seen, and partygoers must celebrate responsibly.
There are some scary Halloween statistics from AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
√ In recent years, between 2015-19, there were 126 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night (6 p.m. Oct. 31 through 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1).
√ According to NHTSA, 41% of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2015-19 were in crashes involving a drunk driver.
√ Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (62%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2019.
√ The majority of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween occur after 6 p.m. and outside of marked crosswalks.
In addition to these sobering facts, vandalism is also a concern.
“Automobile and property vandalism tend to spike on Halloween night, so drivers should park in well-lit areas or in a garage, and keep cars locked,” said Stacey McConnell, vice president of insurance for AAA Western and Central New York. “Homes should also be well-lit to deter vandals.”
Prepare for Pranksters
Vehicles are nearly twice as likely to be vandalized on Halloween as on an average day, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. To avoid having your car egged or even stolen, park it in a secure garage or a safe, well-lit area. Double check that car doors are locked, and windows are up.
Look Out for Black Cats, Blind Spots & Batman
Drive slowly and be on the lookout for creatures that can come out of nowhere. Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances. Don’t hesitate to use your horn if you’re concerned that trick-or-treaters don’t see you.
Be Bright at Night
Trick-or-treaters need to be seen – use reflective tape on costumes and treat buckets to improve visibility. Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision and avoid facemasks. Carry a flashlight and be cautious of tripping in long costumes.
Light Up the Night
Generous lighting outside of your home keeps vandals away while providing safe passage to party guests and trick-or-treaters. Keep walkways and stairs clear of debris and make sure they’re well-lit.
Beware the Brew
Serve nonalcoholic beverages and food along with your preferred potion. Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party ends.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.