Posted on October 31st, 2019 by Zane Cagle
Halloween in St. Louis
Halloween in St. Louis is always a big deal! Parents are pretty familiar with the horror stories of unsafe treats and avoiding homemade treats. But, the biggest danger to trick-or-treaters is actually motor vehicle traffic. Motorists and pedestrians interacting safely this evening is the biggest concern and we all have to take precautions. We all have to keep a careful lookout tonight for all pedestrians, especially small pedestrians. Halloween is one of the deadliest days of the years in the U.S. for pedestrians. Pedestrian deaths have spiked recently recaching 6,283 in 2018. That is a 3.4 percent increase since 2017 and the highest death toll since 1990 according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.
Driving Safety Tonight
While we all have to always be conscious of pedestrians in residential areas, pedestrians are most heavy tonight. And, since they are children, they may not be the most shrewd pedestrians. They are excited, in costume, and filled excitement of gathering treats. Many are trying to remember how to tell their specific joke they have practiced in St. Louis. A number one fear of any driver is that they might hit a child. Halloween conditions are like a perfect storm for pedestrian accidents. It involves darkness, a huge increase in pedestrian traffic and all sorts of distractions. Everyone has to be ultra careful as the holiday brings out the youngest of pedestrians.
Tips for Drivers:
Drive slowly in and around neighborhoods and on residential streets–extra slowly.
Don’t drink and drive.
Watch for children that may dart out into the street and always yield to pedestrians. Children are not purposely trying to be difficult, they are excited and they are CHILDREN thus prone to making quick actions without thought.
If you see one child, expect there will be more even if you cannot see them. If you see one, then there are probably a group of them getting ready to cross the street.
If you are driving children around for trick-or-treating, make sure they’re buckled up in an appropriate car seat. Make sure they buckle up every time.
If you are driving kids, pull over to a safe spot to let children exit at the curb and away from traffic. Use your hazard lights to alert other drivers to your car load of kids!
Try to park in a place where you won’t have to back up. If you do have to back up, have another adult watch to make sure there are no children running behind your vehicle.
If you are driving or transporting kids, refrain from using your cell phone. Pull over to check messages.
The NHTSA reports that 42 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2013 to 2017 were in crashes involving drunk drivers. Yes, Halloween is a time for adults to gather and participate in celebration. But, like on every other holiday that involves celebration with alcohol–plan your safe ride home.
Tips for Trick-or-Treaters:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation offer safety tips for all trick-or-treaters.
Parents should accompany children younger than 12 years of age. Even if your child is mature, it is the other strangers in neighborhood and increased traffic that really require your supervision.
Children should walk-not run from house to house. This can be difficult to enforce as a parent. I find that I yell “walk” at least a 100 times during the evening.
Parents must remind children frequently to look for cars when crossing driveways and streets. We must remind them repeatedly.
Pedestrians should not assume they have the right of way. In truth, motorists do not always see the pedestrians. It’s better to avoid an injury than to try to stand on the right-of-way principle.
Go trick-or-treating before it gets really dark especially involving really young children.
Parents and children should consider costumes with reflective materials or add reflector lights and strips for safety. Often costumers make costumes that are brightly colored with reflective material for this very reason
Avoid costumes that make it difficult to see the child, especially ones with masks. Your child needs to be able to see clearly through the mask.
Give children a flashlight to walk in the dark so they can see and be seen. Glow sticks are a huge favorite and helpful
Pedestrian accidents are almost always serious and often fatal. Halloween is a prime time for these serious accidents to occur. A little prevention goes a long way for drivers and pedestrians. Hitting a pedestrian, especially a child is the stuff of nightmares for drivers and pedestrians. So, slow down and be alert. Plan ahead so you are not speeding or rushing through a part of town to get to a gathering.
If you are attending Halloween parties with celebration and alcohol, please plan ahead for a safe, sober ride home.