While families fret about stranger danger and America's sugar-fueled obesity epidemic, the most pressing danger is auto-pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian fatalities nearly double on Halloween, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation: 30 percent of all crash fatalities on Oct. 31 involve pedestrians, compared to 16 percent on an average day.
The heightened risk stems from the combination of having fewer daylight hours in the fall with still relatively warm temperatures, which translates to busier sidewalks and crosswalks, says Canyons District's Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray. "These accidents are heartbreaking and 100 percent preventable, which is why we ask drivers and pedestrians to be extra vigilant this time of year."
Ray recommends that trick-or-treaters wear brightly-colored costumes, carry flashlights or glow sticks, and be sure to make eye-contact with drivers before crossing the street. "When it's dark, it can be difficult to see drivers' faces, which is why it's best to assume they haven't seen you unless they've come to a full stop."
Following are a few more tips to keep your costumed superheroes and princesses safe.
- Put the phone down!
- Stay well below the posted speed limit.
- Pay attention to what's happening on sidewalks and roadways. Watch for children darting across streets, especially between parked cars.
- Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
- Do not assume children can see you or are paying attention.
- Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
- If you are driving to a Halloween party, put that mask on after you park the car.
- Make sure drivers see the children. Give them flashlights and glow sticks. Dress kids in bright, reflective clothing or use reflective tape on their costumes.
- Use makeup rather than masks, so children have a clear unobstructed view of their surroundings.
- Be sure children know how to cross a street —look left, right, and left again before crossing.
- Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
- Accompany your children as they trick-or-treat.
School children on parade through the halls of elementary schools in the Canyons School District