If you've not already seen or heard one, let this be your regular reminder of the importance of staying safe during Halloween.
Those with kids are busily worrying about the candy that gets generously placed in their kids' loot bags. Those without kids are ensuring they've got a sober ride home from their parties (or they had better be).
One aspect that's often overlooked is that of pedestrian safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a report in 2008 identifying Halloween as the second-most dangerous night of the year for pedestrians (behind only New Years Eve). We have no indication this has changed in the last eight years.
There are many reasons, though we won't go through lengths to describe each of them. We simply want everyone not pulling door duty this evening to be extremely aware of some factors likely contributing to our issue - particularly when our city already sees an alarmingly high number of pedestrian collisions. At any rate, remember this:
- Not all costumes are easily visible. Not many Batman costumes come with strobe lights for safety, and even those little Kylo Rens or Reys running around may lack enough light from their light sabers to make them noticeable from a car. Some neighborhoods are dark, the result of homeowners associations preferring to avoid light pollution in private yards. As a driver, staying extra alert and driving just a little slower may help a ton and allow our trick-or-treaters to enjoy their spoils.
- Some costumes are hard to see out of. They've gotten better over the years, but Halloween masks are still tough for little kids to see out of. This means they may not see you when they look both ways to cross the street and inadvertently step out in front of you.
- There are simply more people out on Halloween than on other nights. This means more opportunity for an issue to arise, and it requires more attention from drivers to keep from running into - literally - a problem.
Whatever the cause, we know there's a higher occurrence of pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes on Halloween. Please, please do what you can to make sure you don't become another statistic or news story. Make sure Halloween stays safe for you and for those around you!
By the way ... safety tonight isn't only the responsibility of the drivers ... if you're out and about, it's on you, too!