AAA offers advice to stay safe this Halloween
By AAA of Western and Central New York
Here’s hoping for all treats and no tricks this Halloween! An estimated 73% of consumers plan to celebrate the holiday this year, up from 69% last year, according to The National Retail Federation. Moreover, 68% of consumers plan to hand out candy to millions of children trick or treating on Oct. 31. It will surely be 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.
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month – the perfect time for drivers and pedestrians to review rules of the road. The majority of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween occur after 6 p.m. and outside of marked crosswalks.
In 2022, the New York State Police arrested 172 people for DWI and investigated over 900 vehicle collisions over Halloween weekend, a large increase from 2021 when there were 138 arrests and 600 collisions.
Vandals and Tricks
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. 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, and 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 food with your preferred potion and nonalcoholic options. Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before the party ends.
Not celebrating Halloween? It’s still a good time to review pedestrian safety as part of National Pedestrian Safety Month.
Tips for Parents & Children
Parents, walking your children to school, to the park, or through the neighborhood provides opportunities to teach them important pedestrian safety practices and the rules of the road. Some key points to help keep children safe:
√ Look left, look right, and look left again. Stop in a safe place before entering a roadway and practice looking both ways before crossing the street.
√ Make eye contact with drivers. Never assume the driver has seen you. This allows the driver a chance to see children and let them pass, or provides children the opportunity to wait if the driver has not seen them.
√ Also make eye contact with bus drivers. When exiting or approaching a school bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and wait for acknowledgment before crossing in front. Always maintain at least 10 feet from the front, back and sides of the bus.
√ Use your eyes and ears. Your vision and hearing work together, providing the best defense for safety. Do not use headphones or play with handheld devices when crossing the street.
√ Don’t walk on the road. Whenever possible, stay on sidewalks and use marked crosswalks.
√ Never run out into the street. Regardless of what you are chasing after, you must follow all the rules of crossing the street to retrieve it. Be sure to look left, right, and left again before entering the roadway.
Tips for All Pedestrians
√ Be visible. This is especially important in dark places or poor weather. Remember to stay in well-lit areas and to wear light or reflective clothing. Never assume drivers see you just because you see them.
√ Use sidewalks and pathways. If a sidewalk is not available, stay to the far side of the road and always face traffic.
√ Beware of multiple cars. Because a driver lets you pass, does not necessarily mean other drivers are aware that you are crossing.
√ Plan your route. This can help you avoid any hazardous crossings or busy streets during times of heavy traffic.
√ Always look both ways. Even at a crosswalk and allow yourself enough time to cross the street.
√ Wait it out. If a walk sign has been lit for a while, or the caution sign has begun to blink, it is wise to wait for a new green signal to have the maximum time to cross the street.
√ Be aware & alert. Not all drivers will follow pedestrian traffic rules or signs. Always be aware of vehicles that are around you so you may take control of your own safety.
Tips for Drivers
√ Be alert. Always be on the lookout for pedestrians. Often, pedestrians – especially younger ones – are not where they should be or where they are expected to be.
√ Always follow posted speed limits. Especially in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic and in areas that have lower speed limits, such as school zones and neighborhood streets where pedestrians may appear suddenly.
√ Stay alert – avoid distractions. Put down your phone. Smartphones and handheld electronic devices take your eyes off the road and distract your attention.
√ Ensure visibility. Overall visibility is limited in bad weather conditions and poorly lit areas. Make sure your lights are on and you use your signals properly. Use extra caution in these circumstances. Not only is it more difficult for drivers to see oncoming pedestrians, it also is harder for pedestrians to see you.
√ Be extra vigilant in driveways. Be mindful of pedestrians when pulling into and out of driveways – especially if you are backing up. Pedestrians can easily enter your path without your knowledge.
√ Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. When approaching a crosswalk, reduce your speed, be prepared to stop, and allow enough room between your vehicle and the crosswalk so other drivers can see the pedestrians.
√ Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They have stopped to allow pedestrians to pass or make sure the way is clear.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 862,000 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.